2014 Bezos Scholar Audrey Huynh and her educator Eric Whiteside founded the MUSTANG Project to raise awareness and create solutions for food security in their community.
The MUSTANG Project built six outdoor box-gardens and a permanent aquaponics garden/greenhouse at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Most of the students at Myers Park had never even heard of an “aquaponic garden” before the MUSTANG Project, or had ever discussed the problem of food deserts or the future of food sustainability,” noted Audrey.
The MUSTANG Project promoted sustainability, nutrition, aquaponic technology, gardening, and farming to the Charlotte community while also creating interactive learning environments for Myers Park High School students.
Thanks to the MUSTANG Project, the Myers Park High School Career & Technical Education Department and the Horticulture Department created their first aquaponic garden class, for Advanced Studies Horticulture students. The Science Department also designed hands on learning opportunities for students to work in the outdoor box gardens.
Along with hands-on learning opportunities, the MUSTANG Project partnered with a local food distribution program called Communities in Schools. Together, they harvested produce from the outdoor box gardens to share with the thirty three percent of the school’s students receiving free and reduced lunch, many of whom live in food deserts.
Beyond their local school community, the MUSTANG Project also partnered with local nonprofits to broaden their outreach. Thirty percent of the garden’s harvest was donated to Friendship Trays, which serves those in the Charlotte community with limited access to healthy foods due to age or disability.