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2432 North Drake Road, Kalamazoo

Name: Contact: Lisa Boulding

This garden is located at Kalamazoo Central High School (KCHS). While school is in session, students who are members of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) participate in the planning of the garden for the upcoming growing season, participate in its maintenance and the harvest. FCCLA is a dynamic career and technical student organization for Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) education students (and early childhood education and teacher cadet programs) in the United States.

Chapter projects focus on a variety of youth concerns including teen pregnancy, parenting, family relationships, substance abuse, peer pressure, environment, nutrition and fitness, teen violence and career exploration. Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life---planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making and interpersonal communication--all necessary in the home and workplace.

KCHS students that have or are currently taking FCS courses (formerly known as Life Skills and/or Home Economics) participate in the garden as a community service project as a member of FCCLA. During the summer, student members continue to tend the garden along with the chapter parent and the student garden manager. This upcoming growing seasons plan includes FCCLA using the vegetables to put together a salsa-canning workshop for the students and area neighbors in the fall.

The KCHS/FCCLA Community Garden began in the spring of 2011. FCCLA members dedicated the first two years of the garden's produce to the local homeless shelter: Ministry with Community. Members gave of their time, energy, talents and skills to help improve the quality of life for individuals and families within the Kalamazoo community.