We are pleased as pumpkins (not pie...you can't grow pie...) that we've got another eager supporter of The Growing Project!
Anya will be taking on the Glean Team, coordinating with farmers and recipients of donated food to make sure the pick up and distribution run smoothly and efficiently. She is also very excited to work with us at the Remington House during Garden Time.
Welcome Anya, and thanks for joining us!
We have starts, starts, starts! Hundreds of plants that Native Hill Farm
is donating, via The Growing Project, to be a part of the Plant a Row
Campaign. These starts need homes ASAP and we want them to go to YOU! Or, someone you know who has garden space and would like to grow a row of food to be given to families in need.
The Plant a Row Campaign is a national service project started by the Garden Writers Association Foundation in 1995, encouraging gardeners to grow a little extra and donate it to local food agencies. All we need is willing gardeners with space to grow, a little organization at the end to get the harvest weighed and logged, and boom!...the food is ready to get into the bellies of our neighbors in need!
Once your food is ready to be harvested, you will get hooked back up with our Gleam Team
, who will help coordinate getting that food quickly to homes right here in Fort Collins. We have already started connecting with foster care programs to get this fresh food into the homes of foster families.
Last year The Growing Project had food growing all up and down the Front Range for the Plant a Row Campaign. This year, we want to do it again, and this is the perfect opportunity to get it started! But time is of the essence...these starts need to be in the ground over the next couple days, so if you're interested, please contact our co-director Chad Shavor at (970) 556-1065.
Grow on! :-)
We are proud to announce that we will be once again partnering with Happy Heart Farms for the Feeding the Families program, which was started by Farm owners Dennis and Bailey Stenson in 2009, and which gets local, organic food into the homes of low income families.
From their website, "In the program’s first year, we raised enough funds to feed six families. In 2010, we raised over $12,000 to feed twenty families. In 2011, Happy Heart Farm seeks to raise $25,000 to feed forty families."As part of this program, the Growing Project will help extend its reach by delivering Happy Heart Farm's donations of leftover produce to either the Food Bank, or the Remington House, where we have our Garden Time program.
Thanks to Happy Heart Farms for being part of what makes Fort Collins the sustainable, supportive community in which we all wish to live!
Yesterday, our garden host Andrea of the Alta Vista neighborhood's Cooperative Garden, organized a community day at her home garden. Her goal was to increase community by bringing her neighbors together to share the joy and benefits of gardening together. When I left, I could not be more proud to be a part of The Growing Project.
We started the day down the street from her house with a little gathering at the neighborhood park, sharing food that Andrea had prepared and acquired through a grant from the City. While a few neighbors were there, Andrea later confessed (see video here!) that she was not sure at that point how the day was going to turn out...she had knocked on her neighbor's doors to explain what she was organizing, and was hoping of course for an enthusiastic turnout for her day of neighborly gardening together.
Back at her garden, after a short introduction by our co-director Chad Shavor, Andrea gave her introduction as well. As she spoke, a few more neighbors started trickling in... We soon got to work, with the goal of the day being that each family would have buckets of veggies planted that they could take home with them as their own little garden, perhaps inspiring future gardens in their home's back yard. Tomato, radish, greens, and other starts including culinary herbs, were provided, as well as the soil, manure, and buckets. As Chad began teaching everyone how to combine the soil ingredients and plant the starts...an amazing thing happened. Suddenly, I looked around, and the garden was packed FULL of people! Hubbub and activity everywhere, as neighbors of all ages worked together busily; planting, filling buckets, and all in all getting their hands good and dirty and having great, clean FUN! :-) In no time at all, the buckets were lined up against the fence ready to go to their new homes, filled with all the starts that everyone had learned to plant together. Everyone seemed excited, and eager to continue the learning and see where it would lead. As I spoke to a few of the neighbors, the theme that began to arise was how much efforts like this were needed in their community and how excited they were to be a part of it; for in the not-so-distant past their Alta Vista neighborhood was run by gangs and violence.
Still today it remains a culturally rich but low-income community. And after spending the day there, while people say that music is the "universal language", I would argue that food is as well, bringing people harmoniously together in conviviality and shared purpose. Huge Kudos to Andrea for reaching out to her neighbors, to all the neighbors who came and those yet to come, and as always, to Chad, for making this all possible!
(More video of the day to come!) :-)
Chad demonstrates planting to mesmerized kids!
The Growing Project had a fabulous time at our booth at Grant Farms Spring Festival!
Chad built small kids planter beds and brought soil and amendments, seeds and expertise (not to mention his kid-winning personality!)...and that's all it took to have our booth surrounded by riveted children all day. After demonstrating seed spacing and planting, each child or family of kids got to choose veggie and herb seeds, and then take home their personal little bed to start their own special garden.
It was amazing to watch how fascinated the children were with all aspects of gardening...from just getting their hands dirty in the soil, to watching for soil enhancing critters, to learning about the nuts and bolt details of tucking the seeds into the ground. The Growing Project is sprouting up little gardeners day by day, kid by kid, seed by seed.
See you in the gardens...and bring your kids; they love it!
The Growing Project was busy as ever this weekend, with their booth Saturday at Grant Farms Spring Festival event and then Chad Shavor teaching the neighbors at Andrea's Alta Vista Cooperative Garden how to start their own veggies in containers on Sunday. Plus...word on the street (or in the garden) is that radishes are already popping their little red heads up everywhere, ready to be munched away! So apparently, nature's been busy too, doing its magic for all of us. :-) Stay tuned for more info and video on these two events...coming soon!
The busy week will continue, with tomorrow's breaking ground at 6 pm at Claudia and Sebastian's Ponderosa Sunshine Giving Garden. We will begin to remove sod, build new beds, and mulch in the pathways. We will also be discussing the purpose of the garden, as well as different gardening techniques and designs. Check the calendar for more info and come join the fun!