Posts Tagged ‘Hale County’

You’ve got a great Mom? We’ve got great Pie!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Is your Mom great? Then she deserves a great gift! Show her you love her this Mother’s Day and support our work when you give her the gift of Pie.

We’re partnering with the folks at Pie Lab in Hale County to bring their delicious, unique scratch-made pies to your table.

For just $50, you get one fresh-baked pie delivered to your door in time for Mother’s Day along with a personalized card and gift membership to APP. Choose from seven scrumptious flavors:

  • Apple
  • Apple Cheddar
  • Blackberry Oat
  • Chocolate Brownie Pie
  • Dark Chocolate Walnut
  • Lemon Chess
  • Triple Berry

Your gift will support our work mobilizing Alabamians to eliminate poverty. It will also help support Pie Lab’s fledgling “Flying Pies” program. And it’s sure to make Mom feel pretty special!

Order here by 12 pm next Wednesday, May 4 to make sure you get your gift in time. Payment accepted via Paypal only. Call 205-939-1408 with any questions.


Pie Lab is an award-winning restaurant in Greensboro, Alabama that invites members of the community to eat pie, have conversations and create social change.

Learn more at

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Rural Studio and the Architecture of Decency

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Yesterday, the American Public Media program Speaking of Faith re-aired a 2007 show about our partner Auburn University’s Rural Studio – a project in which architecture students plan and construct affordable, sustainable buildings in Hale County, Alabama. The APP staff was fortunate to see some of their 20K houses and other projects when we visited Greensboro in January.

Pattern Book House, or 20k house version IV - image via Rural Studio

The 20k house is designed to be built with only $10,000 in materials, with the remaining $10,000 budgeted for labor, permits, and other costs. Why only 20k? Low-income rural residents can qualify for a $20,000 502 Direct Loan from the USDA rural development program. Rural Studio’s ultimate goal is to come up with several housing plans that will be embraced by the community as a viable alternative to mobile homes.

Students are currently working on Version 9 of the 20k house as part of a thesis project. Rural Studio participants often stay in Greensboro for an extra year after graduation to complete their projects – a testament to their dedication and commitment to the project and to the community.

I love this video, which shows how students at the Rural Studio have adapted the design of their 20k houses to meet the needs of the community members who will use them.

If you are interested in learning more about what Auburn is doing in the Black Belt, make plans to see Citizen Architect, a film about Rural Studio and its founder, Samuel Mockbee. The documentary will be showing at the Birmingham Museum of Art on July 29, and premieres on APT in August.

Listen to the entire Speaking of Faith program, “An Architecture of Decency.”

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Appearances can be deceiving.

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

APP’s staff, VISTA volunteers and student workers took a trip yesterday to Greensboro to meet with folks at and HEROProject M.

When we first arrived in Greensboro, it looked like a pretty typical Black Belt town – a Main Street with lots of empty storefronts, a Confederate War memorial and beautiful old homes. It still looks like Walker Evans and James Agee memorialized it in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

Greensboro Main Street

Greensboro Main Street

But appearances can be deceiving.

My first surprise was what the HERO storefront looks like. It is a super cool modern façade built by Auburn Rural Studio architecture students with a combination of new and reclaimed materials.

HERO Storefront

HERO Storefront

My next surprise was how many hipsters there were. Almost everyone I met said they were “from Brooklyn.” Since they didn’t have Brooklyn accents, I quickly figured out that meant they live(d) in one of the borough’s artsy enclaves.

We visited the HERO offices and toured some of the homes built by the Rural Studio students and the HERO/Habitat for Humanity volunteers. Then we went for lunch at Mustang Oil, the local gas station/lunch spot. I have to tell you that this city girl never thought I would be eating lunch (a delicious shrimp po boy and sweet potato fries) in a gas station.  Life is an adventure!

We did some more sightseeing after lunch and then went to Pie Lab for pie and coffee before we headed back home. Pie Lab is intended to be a “third place” between work and home where the community can come together for dialogue and creative interaction. My pie (cranberry and sweet potato) was yummy, and the Higher Grounds Magic City Blend coffee came straight from a French press.

Team APP at the Pie Lab

Team APP at the Pie Lab

The folks I met in Greensboro – especially Pam Dorr – have done an amazing job of bringing attention and resources to this impoverished community. Clearly the creative class sees Greensboro as an opportunity to hone their design skills while doing good.

Is that sufficient? Who are they doing good for? Themselves? The local residents?

We met two young female architects from Auburn who are almost done with their thesis project : a mobile concession stand for the local sports park, which has baseball, football and rodeo fields. These students designed the concession stand with a roof that opens so that the counter is open on three sides. It’s mobile too. This unusual design came about because they talked to the women who volunteer to sell snacks. The volunteers said that they wanted to see their kids play on the fields. Thus the mobile, retracting roof concession stand was born! (I wish I had a picture, but we visited in the midst of a thunderstorm.)

One of my guiding principles is that better results are achieved through collaboration with community members. But I didn’t hear much about community input. In fact, I didn’t hear the word charrette once (which was a little surprising). Maybe there are meaningful opportunities for community input – but they don’t seem to be woven into the fabric of the work. I hope is it another case of appearances being deceiving.

Posted by Kristina Scott