We believe everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food. We teach sustainable food production and grow healthy food for people who need it.
Our urban farm, the hub of our operation, is located on 3 acres at Garinger High School in East Charlotte, and allows us to dramatically expand our teaching and growing capabilities.
The Urban Farm Learning Center is focused on producing fresh healthy food, teaching people to feed themselves in a sustainable way, and workforce development through targeted internships and transitional employment.
Food produced at the farm will be donated to Friendship Trays, used in cooking classes at Garinger High School and eventually sold through markets in food desert areas and sold to restaurants interested in supporting our mission. At the farm, we will use sustainable methods to produce fresh, healthy food.
- We will grow a diverse crop of vegetables to serve Friendship Trays and the community.
- We will incorporate permaculture into our design through elements such as a fruit orchard, pollinator garden, strawberry patch, and grape vineyard.
- We will raise chickens for egg production.
- We will tend honeybee hives to produce honey and pollinate the vegetable farm.
- We will start plants and cultivate year-round in our greenhouse.
- We will build and manage tilapia tanks with an aquaponic growing system.
- Internship – we will expand our existing program to include both summer and semester-long internships in each area of the farm for students from local colleges and universities.
- Homesteader Workshops – We will offer a series of classes and workshops teaching sustainability at home. Ex: composting, canning, gardening, backyard chickens, cooking classes
- Garinger High School Students – We will host the Garinger garden club weekly for hands-on learning as well as encourage classes to use the farm as a learning lab. Beginning in 2014, we will partner with The Mayor’s Youth Employment Program to provide paid summer internships for Garinger students.
- Farmer Seminars – We will host the farmer education lecture series put on by our founding partners: Slow Food Charlotte
- Children and Students – We will host service learning field trips and run summer farm day camps and after school programming
We can’t do this alone! We rely on many great partners to help the farm succeed.
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Garinger High School. You can’t farm without land and CMS/Garinger HS not only provided land but also a commercial-size greenhouse! Our partnership with the students and staff of Garinger is constantly growing as we look for new ways to teach and empower students.
- 100gardens – Their mission is to establish 100 high yield, aquaponic food growing systems, 66 in schools and communities across our region, and connect them with 34 that are installed in Haiti. 100gardens installed our aquaponics system that produces lettuce and tilapia. They also help manage the greenhouse and teach students about aquaponics.
The Friendship Gardens Urban Farm is presented to the community by Wells Fargo. Many thanks for making it possible!
Now that we have broken ground, we have a variety of smaller sponsorships available (chicken tractors, outdoor classrooms, chunks of farmland, etc.). If your company is interested please get in touch.
- Volunteer! Sign up to volunteer here
- Donate tools (new or used)
- Donate funds
- Bring your group to volunteer
- Follow our progress on Facebook/friendshipgardens
Directions to the Farm
The farm is located on the campus of Garinger High School. It is best accessed from the back entrance to the school located on Shamrock Drive. Go to the intersection of Shamrock Dr. and Elkwood Circle (2586 Elkwood Circle, Charlotte, NC 28205). look for signs for Garinger HS. Enter Garinger HS. Turn left to go towards the baseball field and take another left at the gravel path by the field. Look for the Urban Farms signs along the way. Park in the grass on the left before you get to the fruit trees and raised beds.