The End of the Beginning!

The End of the Beginning!

A Fall Song

By Ethan R. Field


Golden and red trees

Nod to the soft breeze,

As it whispers,” Winter is near,”

And the brown nuts fall

At the wind’s loud call

For this is the Fall of the year.


Good-by, sweet flowers!

Through bright Summer hours

You have filled our hearts with cheer

We shall miss you so

And yet you must go,

For this is the Fall of the year.


Now the days grow cold,

As the year grows old,

And the meadows are brown and sere,

Brave robin redbreast

Has gone from his nest,

For this is the Fall of the year.


I do softly pray

At the close of day

That the little children, so dear

May as purely grow

As the fleecy show

That follows the Fall of the year.


Why did I say that? Why, because it’s true.  The weather is changing…school is back in session.  We are at the end of the new beginning we had last year.  The weather is changing.  Harvesting has been going on for a while now.  And the gardeners are ready to start a new beginning at school this year too!  They face a new school concept with a new approach to teaching.  Something called the Educational Achievement Authority.  They will be asked to accept a new identity…a new way to think about themselves.  There is a new administration, new principal Angela Underwood, with a progressive attitude and approach regarding the school, the student community and the garden, which is very comforting.  Especially comforting for the kids that work hard every week at the garden.

I have said it here before; we have great kids that make up Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners.  They are dedicated…surprisingly quick witted and smart…great individual personalities (even between siblings) and respectful!  Respectful of the environment, of each other, their school and to all adults.  They have worked hand-in-hand with the adult volunteers and there was never a problem.  It was beautiful to see cultures blend in a manner that subtly suggested that’s the way it should always be.

We wanted to know what this year’s group of gardeners got out of the program this year.  We didn’t want to give them an assignment that they had to take home and write and re-write-and re-write, over and over again like it was a test.  We wanted it in the moment…to capture their thoughts, just the way they were feeling right then, so here’s what we did.  We, Bonnie Odom-Brown (program coordinator/BE Culturally Exposed), the head of our volunteer group, Maura Ryan-Kaiser (Snelling Staffing Services), and I set up a table with a chair and on top of the table was a laptop.  We told the kids to type on the computer their thoughts on their gardening experience this summer.  They could say whatever they wanted…how they wanted…no censorship…didn’t have to be grammatically correct (we did not spell check it afterwards)…they didn’t have to sign their name…just say how they really felt about the garden program.  We turned and walked away, not looking back to see who sat down or was typing what.  When we came back 30 minutes later this is some of what we found…


“The part I like about the garden is that I made new friends. Also that I could be myself without people talking about me. What I like about the garden is that we get paid. Also it is fun to plant fruits. Also I like to sell the stuff because it is fun and that is why I like the garden.”


“My experience at the garden is that we had to go through thick and thin to go through the year, but we still managed to go through the year. To me vandalism is stupid. We try to make their community look good but they choose to be hood they see us working and still mess it up. It’s ok because we made our garden beautiful. NOLAN FIERCE GARDENERS


“What I like best about the garden is when we have so much fun and talk to each other and we love going to the market because we have so much fun selling our produce and greeting the customers and talking and laughing and that is why I love garden.”


“What I like about the garden was helping people and planting seeds and water the plants and flowers. It was fun planting new seeds in the dirt and seeing them grow into flowers and vegetables. I liked picking tomatoes to take home to my grandma.”


“There is no reason to vandalize our garden because we are growing the garden for the community. The vegetables and fruits are good for you. People are crazy and stupid to vandalize the garden. We should put a fence around it to keep them out of the garden. But it’s beautiful so I guess we did a good job.”


“I experienced watering the plants and flowers. I experienced planting all of the seeds in the dirt and putting the dirt back in the ground. I liked being in the garden and working with my sister and the garden members. I liked getting money for working in the garden every Tuesday.”


“What I liked most about the garden was that we grew vegetables and we were able to pick some and take them home so my Mom can cook them for us and see if we like them. It was fun to me instead of being in the house all day it gave us something to do. It was fun going to market too. I had so much fun in the garden with all of y’all.”

I think I can speak for all of us, the supervisors, the volunteers, the sponsors and the parents of each and every child, and say this is why we do it.  Unedited, unabridged…un-whatever, the kids are walking the walk as they talk the talk!  This is what I saw every time I was out there.  We saw their joy of gardening…of learning…accepting the challenge…taking on responsibility as we impressively watched them grow from week to week.  And the way they bonded together was incredible.  At the garden we were all one big happy and hardworking family.  Equally yoked…working toward the same goal, with lots of ups and just as many downs, but as one of the kids quoted above said…“But it’s beautiful so I guess we did a good job”.  Yeah…you kinda did!!!

The end of “The End of the Beginning”?  We’re not through yet!  Look for more reports from the field as we wrap up the garden for the summer of 2012 and prepare for the new school year… and the garden of 2013.

Bonnie Odom-Brown

BE Culturally Exposed


Maura Ryan Kaiser

Founding Sponsor


Presenting Sponsor


A special thanks to the people from the Greening of Detroit


the Garden Resource Program.


11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    CMSmith said,

    Thanks for the link.

  2. 3

    Johnny Ace said,

    What a great bunch of kids. To be able to read their first-hand observations on gardening is inspiring. Keep going and don’t let the foolish and ignorant get you down.

  3. 5

    Ellen Nelson. said,

    As a child, my parents put in a great big garden to feed our large family. But it was also filled with wonderful flowers that to this day I remember. Gardens create wonderful memories as well as nutritious food to eat. So glad this young group has had the chance to experience so beneficial yet uncommon any more. Too bad more people don’t give it a try.

    • 6

      They experienced a lot and were better for it. They had never tasted cantaloupe or zuchinni and summer squash or kale before growing them in the garden. I had an up close view as the grew and matured and it was wonderful. We did get more parents involved than last year but we still need more. But overall, it was a great year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. 8

    […] The End of the Beginning! ( […]

  5. 9

    […] The End of the Beginning! ( […]

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: