Argenta Community Development Corporation’s Vestal Urban Farming Project is community building and organizing initiative that is primarily geared towards youth.
The overall mission of the Farm is to encourage additional academic opportunities, promote health and wellness initiatives, raise self-esteem, foster a positive work ethic, advocate for environmental stewardship, increase community engagement, and an incite an entrepreneurial spirit among elementary and high school students through hands-on participation in all aspects of the creation, implementation, managing, and marketing of sustainable urban farm. Specifically, the Farm offers opportunities to our younger participants that focus on:
For our older participants, we offer programs that:
Located on one acre of land in Baring Cross that was donated by City Parks and Recreation, the Farm Project is the first of its kind in North Little Rock. It is representative of what many neighborhoods across great American cities have championed and adopted as a type of a sustainable, community-based food system.
While primarily focusing on youth programs, the Farm also engages local residents by providing quality produce. This plays a key role in improving health by increasing nutrition and reducing adult and childhood obesity. The Farm provides ongoing learning opportunities for local residents, fosters neighborhood connectivity, encourages intergenerationl communication, and provides healthier food options in an area that is considered an Urban Food Desert.
The creation and launch of the Vestal Urban Farming Project is a collaboration of private, government, academic, and nonprofit groups who collectively envision the Farm's capacity to positively impact participants and the surrounding neighborhood.
In addition to being a food source for the neighborhood, the Farm promotes commercial opportunities with a produce stand and sales to restaurants, area stores, and other organizations. Part of the produce is donated to Potluck, a local hunger relief agency.
Located across the street from the Farm, Boone Park uses the program to create an outdoor classroom for students in third, fourth, and fifth grades. They take part in activities such as planting, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting as a Life Lab curriculum is integrated into classroom studies. In addition, students are scheduled for field trips at local farmers’ markets and places like Heifer Village, a learning center that educates visitors on issues of global hunger and poverty by highlighting its agricultural investments and human services throughout the world.
Eleventh and twelfth grade students from Argenta Academy have merged traditional physical education, math, and physical and environmental science classes into the Farm and use it as an outdoor lab. Along with curriculum-based assignments and activities, the Farm provides our older students with ongoing tools that will help prepare them for the workplace and develop leadership, management, and entrepreneurial skills. With the assistance of our project partners such as Pulaski Tech, they are given opportunities to learn more about the fast growing industries of green innovation and food service. With mentoring through the national GoodWill GoodGuides program, our older students work with committed volunteers who help them build career plans and skills, and to prepare for school completion, post-secondary training, and productive work.
Argenta CDC is a 19 year-old private nonprofit in North Little Rock with a mission to improve the economic vitality, quality of life, and sense of community in targeted neighborhoods through the development of quality housing, the promotion of homeownership, community revitalization and the stimulation of economic growth. Argenta CDC achieves its mission through the following goals: