Young Middle School principal Ronald Garlington said science classes would start cultivating the land as soon as possible. He said he hopes once West Manor Elementary School students return to their nearby building, which is currently being renovated, they will also participate in farming on the land.
The Earth Day event was attended by former Young Middle School student and rapper Khujo of Goodie Mob, Killer Mike, Atlanta council member Andre Dickens and more. Andrea Young, daughter of Ambassador Andrew Young and Jean Childs Young, the educator and advocate the middle school was named after, also appeared briefly at the event to share that a community garden was very much in the spirit of her late mother.
During an impromptu speech at the event, Killer Mike encouraged other community members to build their own gardens. “If you’ve got your grandma’s house on the west side and you’re about to knock it down, buildings don’t have to go back up. Gardens can go up,” he said. “I want to encourage everyone here to just get a seed from an Ace or a gardening place and put it in a cup, like they used to do in a thing called kindergarten, and grow some (stuff).”
Earthgang has created a GoFundMe to raise additional funds to help with maintaining and staffing the garden. So far, the fundraiser has garnered about $15,000 (including the $10,000 from the duo) of its $200,000 goal. Garlington said some of the funds would go towards hiring a fulltime horticulturist.
“This is a lot more than I ever imagined. I thought some kids would come and drop some seeds, and we would have a garden,” Franklin said during the event. “I can see the seedlings being formed in these kids where they see how something can come from a seed and become an entire economic structure. I can see us having a farmers market eventually on this land, out of what they’re growing.”