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AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala — Behind George Washington Carver Elementary School in Macon County, several rows of strawberries are in the ground — waiting to grow into a beautiful garden. Thanks to the hard work of Dominguez Hurry, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System SNAP-Ed educator in Macon and Bullock counties, thousands of strawberries will be ready for harvest in approximately six months for students, teachers and parents in Macon County.
Keeping Up With Tradition
For the past 10 years, Hurry has been planting strawberry plants in Macon County. For the past eight years, the garden has been at George Carver Elementary School. In early November, more than 2,000 strawberry plants went into the ground with the volunteer help of Harold McLemore, a retired Alabama Department of Agriculture of Industries employee. During the planting, Hurry said third-grade classes gather around the garden to watch. The students learn the proper way to plant, irrigate, water and protect against pesticides.
Hurry translates what is taught in the garden to the classroom through Body Quest classes. Body Quest is an innovative childhood obesity prevention initiative that uses technology and hands-on learning to empower third-grade student and their parents to make healthier choices. In these classes, Hurry provides education about the nutritional value of strawberries as well as other nutrition education lessons.
Approximately six months from planting, the students can pick the strawberries from the garden to take home to their families. Moreover, teachers will also select the fruit to make snacks for their classrooms. Hurry said the students and teachers typically pick the entire field.
“This is an essential garden for this school and community,” Hurry said. “We aren’t exactly a food desert out here, but there are limited resources to fresh fruit and vegetables. Additionally, the education for these students is invaluable because they will learn the ability to grow their food.”
Passion For Work
Janice Hall, the county Extension coordinator for Macon County, said it is evident Hurry has a passion for working with students.
“Dominguez has a heart for teaching youth the value of growing their own fruits and vegetables,” she said.
Hall continues to highlight Hurry’s effort through a four-part video series to understand the process of growing fresh fruit from start to finish.
To contact Hurry, call (334) 738-2580 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find more success stories about SNAP-Ed educators, visit LiveWellAlabama.com.