Youth Agricultural Program

SOLO's Youth Agricultural Program Partnership with McIntosh County Academy

Mrs. Cornelia Walker Bailey’s vision for an agricultural revival on Sapelo Island was based in preserving Saltwater Geechee culture and generating economic development that could save Geechee land. Her vision was also premised on teaching youth the importance of Saltwater Geechee agricultural history and culinary foodways. With this in mind, in the Spring of 2022 SOLO initiated a partnership with the Culinary Arts teacher, Mr. Dave Collins, at McIntosh Academy to create a youth agriculture program in the Hogg Hummock community. This is an important connection because McIntosh Academy is the public high school in Darien GA where many Saltwater Geechee youth from Sapelo went to school when the school on island permanently closed in 1978 and still go to school today. SOLO’s youth agriculture program is teaching high school students the history of Sapelo and the role that Saltwater Geechee people played in it being one of the most important nodes of agricultural knowledge across the Lowcounty and the US South. The program is also teaching high school students about the histories of heritage crops being grown again as part of the agricultural revival SOLO is leading.  It is a hands-on program so students are learning how to care for the soli, propagate plants, manage weeds and harvest crops. The program also has plans for the students to use the crops they harvest to create dishes based on traditional ingredients and recipes.