Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

A Successful Community Brainstorm

Two-thousand eleven is turning out to be a good year so far! Justin and I are looking forward to the Southern SAWG (Sustainable Working Ag Group) conference in Chattanooga, TN that starts on Thursday of this week. What is even more exciting is the energy and momentum that many of us feel after the Urban Food Visioning Session that took place this last Saturday. First, a big thanks to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church for allowing us to use their space for free! There were about 30 people in attendance and this is THEIR work!

As the name suggests, in the gathering our main activity was brainstorming—always a fun thing to do, I think! You can download the results of our brainstorming to read exactly what we came up with. We organized the ideas into 10 categories and gave them “juicy” titles to help us connect more viscerally to these ideas. Broadly speaking our categories  spanned from creating online resources and ways to connect folks who want to grow food with places to do that; community education and workshops on all sorts of urban food topics but definitely on how to grow food; finding ways to heal the soil and community in the proposed urban farm location (see post); eating food together; making food more physically accessible; and getting better food into our public schools. The next steps include meeting in committees (or as we prefer to call them, nests) to develop plans to get some things done!

If you wanted to participate but were not able to make it, or just didn’t hear about it in time, we still want your participation! Download the brainstorm results and let me know what your interest is. Then I’ll make sure that you are connected with your “nest” of interest to get involved.

My goal is to create a listServ to help facilitate discussions and get people DOing! (If any of you have ever set up a listServ, I’d greatly appreciate your assistance! Email me at urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com) As I emphasized in the meeting, Urban Harvest is happy to facilitate, lead, organize, partner, or just help make connections. We realize this is about Greensboro, not about Urban Harvest, and the more people we have empowered and excited about doing something, the more success we can have as an entire community! Thanks to everyone who attended, and for everyone else, we hope to see you next time!

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Elon Students Volunteer at Community Garden

This summer, the Dunleith Community Garden has undergone some great advancements and renovations thanks to an upsurge of eager and interested volunteer groups! Most recently, a group of twenty incoming Elon Freshmen were chosen to experience a week of service learning to better their local community.

they were a group of ecstatic volunteers!

Urban Harvest’s  first major project, The Dunleith Community Garden was one of the sites chosen for the students to spend a proportion of their week-long commitment  to service. The students were informed about the ins-and-outs of urban food production and sustainable farming practices. The tasks spanned from learning the techniques of composting, the importance of pollinators, and the simplicity of lasagna gardening. Thanks to Elon for your enthusiasm and genuine work ethic in the garden, we look forward to hosting you again in the future!

LASAGNA GARDENING

the beginning layer of Dunleith's new pollinator bed

step 2 : add straw

step 3: add compost

almost done! step 4: add the pollinator plants

Pollinator bed completed, ready for enjoyment

Note: Making your own lasagna garden or bed is simple and very efficient in urban areas. For more information, I recommend reading this link http://garden2table.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-to-sheet-mulch.html about a woman who transformed her small backyard into a flourishing lasagna garden!

Gardens Become Educational in Greensboro

If you happened to drive by the Dunleith Community Garden last week, you may have been surprised with the upsurge of youth filtering through out the garden like ants busy at work.

the ant march commences

In fact, from Tuesday to Friday of last week tenth graders at Greensboro Day School graciously volunteered their time and labor with Urban Harvest in a weeklong educational experience off the limitations of school grounds. As a local private school, Greensboro Day School has developed an impressively humble tradition that allows students to participate in a week-long service partnership to help their local community and relieve local non-profits before embarking on summer vacations.

GDS volunteers stop for a break and picture in front of the garden

This year, Urban Harvest was one Greensboro’s non-profits selected to receive a group of student volunteers. Ranging in levels of gardening expertise (some with an extensive permaculture background since the 7th grade) the students assisted Urban Harvest in planting peppers, trellising tomatoes, building compost bins, and sheet mulching pollinator beds for the expanding community project.

Carrots, Carrots, and more Carrots

oh, more carrots you say

This service venture is a testament to the power of working in groups. Two hands shoveling mulch is obviously easier, more efficient, less sweaty, and generally more enjoyablethan one person attempting to complete the same task. (Unless you are a recluse like J.D. Salinger, for which you would find this post to be a complete waste of time).  But that’s besides the point. Truth is, volunteer partnerships demonstrate the value of having accessible gardens in local areas. In a society increasingly expanding in  eco-conscious  civilians, community gardens have the potential to evolve into outdoor classrooms.

Harvesting Turnips on Tuesday

Now i admit, the idea of gardening or gardens as educational spaces is nothing groundbreaking. In fact, we can look to Alice Walker’s Edible Schoolyard epidemic for proof that gardens  are perhaps the most versatile spaces for teaching individual lessons and cultivating personal values; Determination, growth, patience and organic integrity are a worthy handful that immediately come to mind.

But on a larger scale, gardening as education is one of those great ideas that is rarely pursued. Instead we find gardening workshops in the elite niches of America or as large scale farming in those roadside rural towns that seem both unfamiliar and familiar at the same time.

Ideas of widespread and educational garden spaces, especially in urban areas, are often abandoned when visioners reach obstacles such as installation, resources, or simply the risk involved in pursuing external support.

lets harvest arugula!

However, i reiterate in one week a small community garden demonstrated the capacity to educate a group of high school students. No chairs or laptops required. So fellow visioners, whether gardeners or not, don’t surrender ideas you believe in to the first or second obstacle that presents itself. Any substantial idea worth pursuing was previously confronted with a great obstacle. To harp upon the words of an old friend, “if it was easy everyone would do it (except breathing, and a couple of other exceptions if you want to get technical)”.

That’s all for now.

Listen up, Greensboro Gardeners!

Hello all,

May showers have brought in a stunning growth of fresh herbs and vegetables to keep us gardeners’ busy at  Urban Harvest’s Dunleith Community Garden. If you haven’t visited the garden yet, or are just hearing about Urban Harvest, you simply have to use some of your summer free time to experience this local movement.The garden is located  close to Summit Avenue in the Aycock Historic District (681 Chestnut Street) and offers a beautiful location for youth, families, and school groups to come participate in a true “urban harvest”.

it's thyme to get outdoors and garden

In fact, groups such as Greensboro Day School and UNCG will be hosted by Urban Harvest at the garden in the upcoming weeks, so keep an eye out for updates and renovations!

As we all know, summer is one of the best times of year to experience something new (perhaps because the kids are out of school, the weather is beautiful, the pollen is gone, your boss is on vacation, …. and the list goes on).  So why not seize this opportunity to become involved in a fresh local food movement expanding right here in the Triad! What’s stopping you? It’s simply too easy and enjoyable to pass up.

Currently, there are an array of promising projects, from tomato trellising to sprout production, that you could become involved in. Bring a few  friends, maybe a pal from work, or simply do something for yourself in June! Come learn techniques to expand your own garden, start a neighborhood garden, or simply feel more knowledgeable when you’re picking out groceries.

If you have never planted a seed in your life, or if you have been green thumbin’ it since diapers, it’s all the same. Come join us  for an unforgettable experience at the Dunleith Community Garden!

In one day you truly can make a difference.

To schedule a day of adventure at the garden or if you simply want to make a donation to Urban Harvest,  please contact urbanharvest.gso@gmail.com.

Let the flood gates open

As the Dunleith Community Garden gains popularity in the media, I figured it was time to start updating everyone on our progress. That’s right! You will now be able to read weekly updates on the garden, including (but not limited to) watering schedules, volunteer needs, decorative additions and general growth updates. As Dawn and Justin shared their experiences at Growing Power and their expanding knowledge, hopefully I will be able to capture a snapshot of local food in Greensboro and our ongoing projects.

If you’ve walked by the Dunleith Community Garden, you can clearly see that a lot has occurred since our groundbreaking on June 20th, 2009. (Has it really only been 2 months?!) Since that joyous day, we have planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, numerous herbs, basil, and so much more. Everything really seemed to take on a life of its own–even though it was very late for a summer planting. Attributed to this abundant growth was the vital necessity of any garden: water. During the last couple months, neighbors of the Dunleith Community Garden have graciously donated water to this project. By stretching hoses from across the street, volunteers were able to hand water all of the plants–sometimes taking as long as 2-3 hours in watering. We are extremely thankful for these neighbors and the volunteers that fought over 200 feet of hose!

The last day that water flowed on the Dunleith property was in the 60’s, before the demolition of the house on the property. Almost 50 years later, Urban Harvest Sweat Equity project in partnership with Aycock Historic Neighborhood have brought back WATER! This morning we will have water once more. This is a tremendous feat, not only because of the number of years that have passed, but also because of what this water will now produce.  This garden in not state-funded, being paid for by the members of the Aycock Historic Neighborhood and Urban Harvest Sweat Equity Project.  Providing all soil amendments, compost, weeding, edging, and general maintenance, UH-SEP is striving to teach the community how to grow food and in turn, creating a sustainable community.

By involving the entire Aycock Historic Neighborhood, surrounding neighborhoods and local restaurants, we are hoping to create a community with the knowledge to feed itself. As a non-profit corporation, UH-SEP will insure individualized education, workshops and over productive food will directly impact the community that we are serving. Now, with the addition of water on this historic site, let the flood gates open (metaphorically, of course) and the hard work continue! Please join in and celebrate all of the hard work that we have ALL accomplished to come this far.

Please continue to check back for weekly communication.

Sarah Brewer “Urban Harvest Sweat Equity Project”