Tamara Bates is working with Full Circle FarmCorps, an AmeriCorps program that promotes food security and strengthens communities through farming, teaching, and outreach.
Bates, who recently completed her first year of academic work at the Clinton School, is among the twenty AmeriCorps members that will serve 675 hours each this summer at schools and community gardens throughout Pulaski County. The program is a partnership between the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and the St. Joseph Center of Arkansas, where Clinton School graduate A.B. Stewart (’19) serves as Program Director.
Full Circle FarmCorps members spend 50 percent of their time at a school and 50 percent of their time at a community space where they support gardens, teach nutrition, and engage volunteers. Members serve on teams to grow gardens, leverage volunteers, educate children through Growing My Plate, a curriculum created by Apple Seeds, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and UAMS.
“My team and I have been learning the importance of gardening and building rapport with the communities that we serve in,” Bates said. “I have built raised beds to plant food. We harvested fruits and vegetables from the gardens so that the communities can come and pick out the produce.”
Bates is serving at Forest Park Elementary School in Little Rock and North Little Rock Fit2Live, an initiative created in 2009 by the City of North Little Rock and the North Little Rock School District to address the obesity epidemic in the city and help residents make healthy choices.
“My interest in healthy eating and healthy living are important to me,” Bates said. “I believe communities deserve the right to have access to fresh and quality for food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are essential to needs for survival.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.