Planting Seeds of Change

 Garden Coordinator Kia writes garden inspiration on a chalkboard.

Garden Coordinator Kia writes garden inspiration on a chalkboard.

As we reflect on 2015 and look forward to 2016, we’ve been talking and thinking about “hope.” Rather than feeling discouraged about the problems of poverty and food waste, we’re focusing on the small changes we can make in the community.

In the garden specifically, here are a few ways we’re planting small seeds of change:

1.) Educating students at veggie tastings.

We might not be able to solve all the issues related to farm-to-school, but we can introduce children to great-tasting vegetables. 

Students from Fall-Hamilton Elementary School visit the McGruder Community Garden on occasion for activities that range from observation journals to lessons on seeds and compost to planting vegetables. We also donate food and cooking time to the school in twice-per-semester “veggie tastings,” where students sample colorful roasted root vegetables, kale salads, or sweet potato fries. "The idea is to introduce kids to vegetables they might not opt for at home or have access to at all," says Garden Manager Christina Bentrup.

 Students from Fall-Hamilton help out in the Wedgewood Urban Garden.

Students from Fall-Hamilton help out in the Wedgewood Urban Garden.

2.) Making good use of land.

Through our gardens, we’re using land that might otherwise be overlooked to increase access to healthy food. We’ve harvested 4,250 pounds of produce this year for 50,100 meals.

 

3.) Teaching others about growing food. 

Through our community garden plots, education and volunteer sessions, we’re hoping to empower those in the community to grow their own food in our gardens or at their homes. 

 Volunteers from Whole Food Market help out at the Wedgewood Urban Garden.

Volunteers from Whole Food Market help out at the Wedgewood Urban Garden.

4.) Sharing land to create spaces for others.

With the community garden plots and the Refugee Agriculture Program, we want growers to feel as if they have a place of their own. 

 Tika Adikhari, a Bhutanese gardener at the Wedgewood Urban Garden, proudly shows off his plot. 

Tika Adikhari, a Bhutanese gardener at the Wedgewood Urban Garden, proudly shows off his plot. 

 Siddi Rimal interprets during a training session with refugee gardeners. 

Siddi Rimal interprets during a training session with refugee gardeners. 

5.) Keeping bees and chickens.

Beyond the plants, we’re keeping bees and chickens at our gardens, which provide vital functions in an ecosystem. They also serve as educational tools for students and volunteers.

Through small steps forward, we can maintain hope. Hope is contagious. We hope you’ll continue to help us spread it in 2016.