Growing Together: Open Forum

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  • 1.  Parent's boxes? Community Garden Style?

    Posted 04-07-2022 10:47:00 AM
    Hi, I'm sorry if this has already been discussed, I'm new to forum and not sure how to search past threads.

    We have a lot of international and passing-through families at our school in a university town in WV that are only here for a few years and/or live in apartments and can't garden at home.  We also have the problem of trying to get more parents involved to volunteer in the school gardens over the summer.

    Has anyone tried a "Parent Bed" idea?  Treating part of the school garden as a community garden in the summer months?  Our town doesn't have community gardens to join.  There are 3 parents already onboard that previously lived in cities and did community gardening (that's my background, too).

    I'd love to hear stories if anyone else has tried this.

    Families helping weed perennial beds on volunteer day.

    Johanna Nelson

  • 2.  RE: Parent's boxes? Community Garden Style?

    Posted 04-08-2022 12:04:00 PM
    Hi Johanna,

    An elementary school in Augusta, GA, did just that.  It serves a primarily African-American area where most of the residents are renting AND in a food desert.  There was a very dedicated teacher who got the parents/guardians organized and oversaw the garden throughout the summer -- they kept the grounds locked and had scheduled work days when she would unlock the gates.  The deal was that any parent/guardian who came, signed in, and helped prep/plant/weed/water could take home produce on the work days.  It ran really well for years.  That teacher has retired and, sadly, no one picked up the project, so the garden is gone. 

    A couple of community organizations are trying to fill the gap now, but they are in different neighborhoods from that school.  One thing that the community organizations realized was that many of the families receiving fresh produce had no idea what to do with it.  They were so used to eating processed foods and vegetables out of a can that when presented with a raw carrot they were intimidated (true story). So, they are now doing very basic cooking classes -- including how to use a slow cooker -- to help the residents use the produce. 

    Michelle Zupan
    Hickory Hill & the Tom Watson Birthplace
    502 Hickory Hill Drive
    Thomson, GA  30824
    FAX: 706-595-7177

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