The Giving Kitchen, brain child of Spelman College students, won the 2015 Historically Black Colleges & Universities Community Challenge, supported by Ford Motor Company. The aquaponics home gardening program is community-based with the goal of providing a way for residents to grow vegetables in space as small as a shoe box, regardless of climate of seasonal changes.
The total award of $75K provides $25K for the urban garden implementation. The team will share $40K in scholarships, while the college receives $10K for the general scholarship fund.
Meanwhile, Bethune-Cookman University won second place and $25K to jumpstart their “Getting Back to the Roots” program. Focusing on middle school students in an after-school environment, the youngsters will grow their own food using hydroponics in an onsite greenhouse.
Florida A&M University students won $10K as the third ranking project. The IE2 program intends to build an “Innovative Education Ecosystem” with FAMU students from the Developmental Research School and students from Bethel Christian Academy.
The program will focus on the development of entrepreneurship training through hands-on activities incorporating math, science and literacy as a means to enhance the students’ critical thinking skills, reading comprehension and writing skills along with community gardens and recycling programs.
The 2013 Historically Black Colleges & Universities Ford College Community Challenge winner was Huston-Tillotson University located in Austin, Texas. Their project, in partnership with Blackshear Elementary School, was focused on transforming a 33-sqaure-foot dumpster into a fully functioning home complete with running water, a toilet, shower, bed and solar-generated electricity. The project aimed to promote living practices that encourage sustainability.