Friday, September 30, 2011

Community Gardening Excitement

If you haven't seen today's Triplicate yet, make a point to pick it up. A beautiful above-the-fold photograph of one of our community gardeners opens a great article about the Elk Valley Community Garden. The predominantly Hmong gardeners at Elk Valley have turned a bare lot into an extremely productive piece of agricultural land over the past four and a half months. Looking at the garden, it's hard to believe that they only started planting seeds in mid-May! (Check out our past post about this garden to see the before pictures!) This garden supplies fresh, healthy food to 24 families, representing over 100 people. It's a small part of our population, but what a beautiful first step they've taken.

This excellent coverage by Kelley and Bry is the topper on a month of great community gardening in Del Norte. With five community members returning from NYC's American Community Gardening Association conference at the end of August, we have been inundated with information and excitement from their experiences. You can read about it here and here. At this month's Community Food Council meeting, we had two of our school Nutrition in the Garden educators tell members about the status, joys, and challenges in our school gardens. From there, eight people have formed a new subcommittee (open to all community members!) to find news ways to build support for all of our school and community gardens.

Last week, we shared a wonderful day of learning and collaboration with community gardeners from all over California and southern Oregon, right here in Crescent City. Ten sessions about gardening and community gardens took place at the beautiful Oceanfront Lodge. Forty-five participants learned about raised bed techniques, aquaponics, gardening with kids, incorporating fruit trees into community gardens, and much more. Above, Joe Gillespie talks about lessons learned during his 18 years of gardening at Crescent Elk Middle School. Below, participants show off their color-matched finds during a gardening with kids hands-on activity.

After a delicious lunch courtesy of the Bar-O Boys Ranch culinary arts program and exciting afternoon sessions, attendees toured our local community gardens and met with our gardeners. They toured six gardens and learned something new at each one.

 At the Seventh Day Adventist Community Garden

The new garden at the Wellness Center

When the tour was complete, a large contingent of our out-of-town guests had a laughter-filled dinner overlooking the Harbor at Good Harvest. They had more chances to ask questions and share information about their own community garden projects. People left Del Norte with new tools for their own communities. They loved our coast and our redwoods. They raved about the meals and our community's hospitality. It was Del Norte at its best: sharing one of the things we do well in one of the most beautiful places on our planet. Our gardens are an inspiration for people just starting out. They show what our community can accomplish when we work together and we were very proud to show off our gardeners' successes! Community gardens are about food, community, relationships, and hope for the future. All of that was on full display for 45 very happy conference-goers last Friday.

No comments: