In 2014 Louisiana State University Agriculture Center introduced “Greauxing Gardens” to the Juvenile Detention Center by providing everything from the raised garden beds to garden tools and seeds. Their program is a statewide initiative that’s located in several schools throughout Louisiana. The kids are immersed in the garden program and are tasked with the planting and upkeep of the garden. The Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SUAREC) has since taken the torch with continued instruction in gardening.
The mission of SUAREC is to “provide agricultural training to incarcerated and adjudicated youth.” Training topics include communication and life skills, as well as horticultural and workforce skills. Instruction involves both classroom and hands-on activities including the establishment of horticultural garden plots. Instructors utilize a community gardening curriculum that was developed by the SUAREC. Certificates are awarded upon successful completion of the program; they can be utilized to support applications at any horticultural-related establishment.
This program funded through USDA and is currently being implemented at three facilities: Baton Rouge Detention Center (BRDC) located in North Baton Rouge, Bridge City Center for Youth (BCCY) in Westwego and THRIVE of Baton Rouge, a public charter boarding school that serves adjudicated students, located in South Baton Rouge. Each facility has a garden on their own campus, built by the students and used as an experiential learning tool for the horticulture and workforce skills lessons. Gardening classes are conducted weekly.