By Anna-Claire Terry
On June 13, Storybook Farm held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the newest addition to the farm, the secret garden. The garden is located in the center of the farm and will function as a means of teaching children and fighting hunger in the area. The garden was built by Mobile Studio, a company that specializes in creating outdoor spaces. All spaces in the garden were designed for maximum accessibility for those with disabilities of all kinds. Added in the blueprints of the garden was an old-fashioned pizza oven that will allow children to use the vegetables they grow to create a meal and promote proper nutrition while teaching food preparation. Staff at Storybook plan to have pizza parties for the children who work in the garden.
Storybook Farm partnered with several departments of Auburn University to make the vision of the garden a reality. Students from the colleges of agriculture, human sciences and education combined their efforts. Members of an AU organization called the Committee of 19 became heavily involved because their mission is also to fight hunger. Rachel Berube, Auburn student and Committee of 19 member worked tirelessly to help bring the idea to fruition. Adam Brasher, president of the organization, said this project allowed members to use their individual talents and educations to better the community.
According to Wade McKinney, Storybook Farm community relations director, the garden will make a profound difference in an already inspiring place. Another life lesson children can get from the garden is the value of giving back, as a majority of the vegetables harvested form the garden will go to food insecure families in the area. Storybook Farm is working with Wright’s Market to get the vegetables distributed. “It’s a great way to bring communities together and connect Storybook to the greater Opelika area,” McKinney said.
The mission of all Storybook programs is to create trust. With this garden, staff and volunteers hope to help children and those who frequent the farm foster a trust with nature and learn to use it to help others. McKinney added that Storybook’s other missions are also to make people feel safe and promote sharing, and that the garden will act as a teaching tool in those areas as well.