Detroit School Garden Collaborative…The New Game in Town!

Sometime last fall, I heard about a new urban gardening program that sounded like one of the best ideas in quite some time, the Detroit School Garden Collaborative (DSGC).  In 2013 it planned on putting in raised beds in about 45 schools.  They also talked about developing nutritional programs and using produce from the gardens in the schools.

On May 14th, they put in six new raised beds at Nolan.  I wasn’t there and from the looks of it I am glad I wasn’t.  This was some very hard work!

No, this is not a prehistoric landfill!

No, this is not a prehistoric landfill!

Setting Up

Setting Up

Let's get busy!

Let’s get busy!

Coming along just as it was planned!

Coming along just as it was planned!

Coming together one bed at a time!

Coming together one bed at a time!

- - TA DA - -

– – TA DA – –

At the end of the day, Nolan had 6 brand-spanking new raised beds.  Boy were we going to have fun with them!!!

For more on the Detroit School Garden Collaborative take a look at the blog:  Days of Our Garden: Diary II (December 2012 – March 2013) at John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy.  Teacher/Garden Coordinator, Gwen Bouler, attended all of the DSGC sessions and workshops.

I think that the DSCG will eventually find its way, though the path may not be as easy for them as they would like.  They will need to have complete and total buy-in from all of the stakeholders and that includes kitchen personnel.  They will have to hire smart!  They don’t need people who are looking for an easy job, because it isn’t.  They need smart people, gardening people who are self-motivated and individually-inspired to take care of the gardens they are charged with.  They need to have a practical plan for when schools are on break and most of their resources are not accessible.  They have a unique program and logistically, only a few schools are properly set up to do everything that they’d like to have happen.  So because of that, they need to focus on and recruit only those schools that can accomplish what they are trying to achieve.  They should be the resource the schools and their gardens need them to be.  Detroit schools, just like the city, are not sitting on stacks of money.  They are needy!  Oh yes, the children will have enough of the basics to make learning less of a challenge than it is, but anything extra-curricular, well…er…ah…ahem…you know!  So don’t start something for them to have to financially support later.  They will buy school books and classroom materials…but garden tools?  That might be just a little too much to ask.

Negativity aside, like I said at the beginning, I think that they will find their way.  I do know some of the people there and if those I don’t know are as good about their work as the people I do know, then there is not a lot to worry about.

Good Luck…Happy Gardening!

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