Posts tagged Community Service

Simply Irresistible!

2016 will be a much different year than previous years at the Nolan Elementary-Middle School “Planting the Seeds” garden in Detroit.  We have taken steps to change the look and feel of the garden and we are growing a slew of new crops that hopefully will make this year’s efforts more fulfilling and fun for our young growers.  Much thanks goes out to our supporting sponsor, Snelling Staffing Solutions!  They came out on a chilly April morning to build the new beds, clean out the old ones and plant some cold-weather crops in the ground.  We really appreciate all that they have done!

We would also like to announce that Be Culturally Exposed, led by Bonnie Odom-Brown, received yet another grant for $1000 from the Healthy Environment Partnership (www.hepdetroit.org).  We are very excited to be recognized once again for our efforts for maintaining this community garden and working with children and to receive the additional support.

What’s New?

New in 2016 will be 10 raised beds!  Our original beds were placed in 2011 and served us well until vandals and the weather caused a few of them to rot and decay.  We got 5 good years out of them but they had become a safety concern as they were breaking down and splintering.

Blueberries are new in 2016 also!  We actually planted the new bushes last fall (Oct. 2015) and we were very fortunate they made it through the winter.  It takes a number of years for the bushes to get established and to produce fruit, but we will be ready when they are.

We are also going to try to grow celery, popcorn, peanuts, okra and various winter squash.  It is vitally important that we continue to add new crops to the garden as it enhances the appeal to our young gardeners, primarily those who have come back from previous years.

Lastly, from an editorial standpoint we are going to introduce more recipes using the vegetables we are growing in the garden.

 

April – Cold Weather Crop Distribution & New Bed Construction

And a way she goes!

And a way she goes!

 April 23rd

Getting Started!

 

Breaking out into teams!

 

 

 

Cabbages

 

Broccoli

Broccoli

 

Strawberries

Strawberries

 

One wheelbarrow load at a time!

One wheelbarrow load at a time!

 

 

 May 3rd

Blueberry Bushes and Curly Kale

 

Collard Greens

Collard Greens

 

Planting Celery

Planting Celery

 

Planting lettuces!

Planting lettuces!

 

Planting Onions and Leeks

Planting Onions and Leeks

 

The villagers have gathered!

The villagers have gathered!

 

Yeah, I Got It!

Yeah, I Got It!

 May 5th

Planting Potatoes...

Planting Potatoes…

May 17th

Keep Growing Detroit came out to test the soil!

Keep Growing Detroit came out to test the soil!

 May 19th

Hot Crop Distribution Day at Earthworks!

Hot Crop Distribution Day at Earthworks!  Oops, excuse my thumb!

 

What a crowd!

What a crowd!

 

 

I got some tootsie rolls and some candy corn!

I got some tootsie rolls and some candy corn!

May 24th

Cabbages 1 Month

Cabbages @ 1 Month

 

Broccoli 1 month

Broccoli @ 1 month

 

Pretty lettuces in a row @ 1 month

Pretty lettuces in a row @ 1 month

 

We need to weed this kale and blueberry bed @ 1 month

We need to weed this kale and blueberry bed @ 1 month

 

Red Skin and Blue Potatoes 3 weeks

Red Skin and Blue Potatoes @ 3 weeks!

 

 

Comments (8) »

The Major “Get” of 2015

October 2015 BE Culturally Exposed, the organizer of the garden at Nolan Elementary-Middle School, participated in the Detroit Community Development Awards “People’s Choice Awards” which was presented by Comerica Bank.  This was the first year of the People’s Choice Award and the winners would come from 7 geographically defined districts in the City of Detroit.  Each winner would be given $1000 and would be determined by an online voting program where supporters could vote as often as they’d like, once a day, during a 15-day period.

 

Winning out of District 3 was BE Culturally Exposed!  We contribute our success to the online efforts of friends, volunteers and supporters, you know “people who know somebody that knows somebody”.  We used every social marketing tool that was available for us to use to reach out to our constituents to get them to vote not just once but as frequent as the rules allowed.  It was a social networking miracle that enabled us to compete with other “more recognized or established” programs.  But like the little engine that could…we did, we won and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

We were vandalized at the end of the year by some individuals that do not appreciate what we are doing for the students of Nolan, the school, families and the community immediately adjacent to the school and several of the beds were in need of repair.  That’s where the award money is going…new raised beds!  New beds will be easier and safer for the young gardeners to manage.  Plus, we suspect they will be slightly more durable.  Lastly, they are modular, so we should be able to come up with some unique bed formations that may fuel their creative minds.

 

We also received a sizeable donation from Michigan First Credit Union toward the repair of the beds.  Lowe’s Home Improvement then stepped up big time by selling us some beds at cost, donating several more and providing soil upgrading materials at cost. We were able to feed and upgrade the soil conditions of each bed, including the new ones!

 

So a Big THANK YOU to all of our friends and supporters (the people that know somebody) that voted and helped us win the $1000 award.  Thanks to Michigan First Credit Union (Andy Daily) for their continued support and thanks to Lowe’s Home Improvement for their timely contribution.

 

This was so much fun, let’s do it again!

dark_honey_bee_hemberger

Bonnie Odom-Brown

B.E. Culturally Exposed

newSTAFFINGdiamondtop[1]

Maura Ryan-Kaiser

MIFCU logo and tagline

Andy Daily, Bus. Development/Community Dev.

project-sweet-tomato-logo

Arthur Littsey

Leave a comment »

Bringing Smiles…To Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners!

It’s August and it’s Harvest Time at the garden!  And, we’re bringing smiles to the kids of Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners as they were finally able to reap what they had sown! There was so much excitement in the air as they went from bed to bed and started to pick vegetables.  It was like Halloween to them (lots of smiles).  Mind you, they had their first epiphany a few weeks back when we harvested our first radishes.

Getting their "minds right"

Getting their “minds right”

Radishes...Hang "Em High!

Radishes…Hang “Em High!

And these kids liked to work the garden.  They kept it clean and orderly.  We told them what to do and they did the work…all of it!

Getting rid of weeds before they can get started

Getting rid of weeds before they can get started

Early Sunflower Bed...You ain't  seen nuthin' yet!

Early Sunflower Bed…You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

Green Beans on your left and Yellow Wax Beans on your right.

Green Beans on your left and Yellow Wax Beans on your right.

Wildflower patch...look how weed-free the kids kept the rows!

Wildflower patch…look how weed-free the kids kept the rows!

Two more rows of beans...Green and Yellow Wax

Two more rows of beans…Green and Yellow Wax

Sowing!

The first of many eggplants!

The first of many eggplants!

Those are peppers she is after!

Those are peppers she is after!

Gorgeous Broccoli

Gorgeous Broccoli

Child's eye few of the sunflowers

Child’s eye few of the sunflowers

Potato Sprouts

Our first Potato Sprouts

But it was nothing like the expressions of amazement and joy that followed on garden days throughout the month of August.  Take a look…

Reaping!

From sprouts to this!

From sprouts to this!

He's holding it like it's an egg!

He’s holding it like it’s an egg!

Potatoes and garlic...now we're talking!

Potatoes and garlic…now we’re talking!

The perfect size!

The perfect size!

He's not done yet!

He’s not done yet!

There's so much...everywhere!

There’s so much…everywhere!

Did you ask for some summer squash?

Did you ask for some summer squash?

Jalapeno Peppers...student favorites!

Jalapeno Peppers…student favorites!

Can you believe this Kale?

Can you believe this Kale?

Collards, mmm mmm...Collards, mmm mmm

Collards, mmm mmm…Collards, mmm mmm

She's got "Fried Green Tomatoes" on her mind!

She’s got “Fried Green Tomatoes” on her mind!

Red Skin Potatoes

Red Skin Potatoes

A salad is calling for these peppery radishes!

A salad is calling for these peppery radishes!

Yankee Bell courtesy of "Keep Growing Detroit"

Yankee Bell courtesy of “Keep Growing Detroit”

What is she thinking of doing with that?

What is she thinking of doing with that?

A forest of Tomatoes!

A forest of Tomatoes!

Purple Cabbage and a proud gardener!

Purple Cabbage and a proud gardener!

Positive Efforts Yield Positive Results!!!

Without the cooperation and the support of the following, these garden moments would not have happened…

The Administration of Nolan Elementary-Middle School

Angela Underwood, Principal

DeAndrea Rogers, Parent & Community Involvement Specialist

Carrie Hahn, Teacher

 __________

Keep Growing Detroit

Detroit School Garden Collaborative

__________

Bonnie Odom-Brown

dark_honey_bee_hemberger

B.E. Culturally Exposed

 

Sandra Tomlin, Vice President Community Affairs

MIFCU logo and tagline

Michigan First Credit Union

 

Maura Ryan-Kaiser, Vice President

newSTAFFINGdiamondtop[1]

Snelling Staffing Services

 

Project Sweet Tomato

project-sweet-tomato-logo

Arthur Littsey

Comments (5) »

Pot Luck Picnic 2013

2013 Summer Potluck Picnic

at

Nolan

Elementary-Middle School

“Planting the Seeds”

School Garden

on Saturday, July 27th

Starts

@ 12:00 noon3:00

Hamburgers/Hotdogs/Beverages

will be provided!

Bring a dish to pass around!

2013 at the garden was full of changes…a lot of them.  Our student base was younger.  The support was stronger…more consistent over term.  Our goals were a little higher.  One thing we really wanted to do was to change the dynamic of the mid-season picnic. Because of the extended school semester (another change) we foresaw an opportunity to get more parents involved by having a good old-fashion “potluck” picnic.  Each young gardener took home a flyer to their parents seeking permission to attend because it was on a non-school day.  The turnout…students to parents, was better than previous years and we all had a great time.  It was nice to see the kids take their parents out to the various beds and tell them what they were growing.  If they were even a little bit like me, they were planning future dinner menus as they strolled through

 It was also significant for us to have our teacher, Ms. Carrie Hahn and the school principal, Angela Underwood and her family show up.  This reflects the new attitude that Principal Underwood and her teachers represent.  They do everything they can to reach all of the positive touch points they can.  This means that they are always pretty busy.  Busy yes, but there is no shortage of sincerity in their efforts.

There were plenty of candid moments, some that the cameras didn’t capture.  The sampling of Ms. Hahn’s homemade Kale Chips for starters!  Babies were pampered, it didn’t matter whose baby it was, on this day we were all family.  The kids, as they proudly introduced us and the garden to their parents.  There were the moments where we could talk directly to each parent about how well their child was doing and how hard they worked.  There were compliments from the parents as well.  You could see how proud they were of their little munchkins as they showed off their hard work!

Mazin Shina (Imperial Super Market) & Bonnie Odom-Brown

Mazin Shina (Imperial Super Market) &
Bonnie Odom-Brown

2013 Summer Gardens 151

One of our garden families!

Principal Underwood getting a tour by her students

Principal Underwood getting a tour by her students

Two of our garden superstars!

Two of our garden superstars!

Ms. Hahn with her students and her brother

Ms. Hahn with her students and her brother

I'm talkin' about love...L-O-V-E!

I’m talkin’ about love…L-O-V-E

Does she like what she sees?

Does she like what she sees?

Bonnie's always working!

Bonnie’s always working!

Picnic Central!

Picnic Central!

A Special Thanks to Our Food & Supplies Sponsors…

Mazin Shina

Imperial Super Market

(8 Mile & Dequindre/Detroit)

********************

Maura Ryan-Kaiser

newSTAFFINGdiamondtop[1]

 ********************

Sandra Tomlin

MIFCU logo and tagline********************

Bonnie Odom-Brown

B.E. Culturally Exposed

dark_honey_bee_hemberger

********************

Arthur Littsey

project-sweet-tomato-logo

Comments (3) »

Extra Extra…Read All About It! Nolan Boy Scouts Help Garden Club!

On July 25th, Boy Scout Troop 1320 and Cub Scout Pack 1318 came out to help Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners (Nolan Elementary-Middle School) tend to their crops.  They were all trying to get some community service under their belt as they were working towards their merit badges.   This day’s effort was coordinated by Ms. DeAndrea Rogers, the school’s Parent and Community Involvement Specialist.   It kind of reminds me of way back in 1959, when unbeknownst to my parents I signed up for the cub scouts.  This was after they had told my oldest brother, Isaac, “NO” several times.  Well I can thank him for wearing them down, because by the time they found out, I had signed up and they let me join without a hitch.  A new strategy was thereby born – -“Don’t Ask…Just Do!”  Gee, I had all the trimmings too!  The full uniform, the wallet, gloves, telegraph set…I was all in.  I earned several merit badges, too.  My mom came to all of the award ceremonies.  There was plenty of upside for Little Arthur David, the middle child. The downside for me was that I had to do extra work around the house to earn my weekly pack dues.  The upside for them was that they found another loophole in the child labor laws.

So, ah yes, back to present times.  Nolan’s troops are a hard-working bunch of guys and they were eager to get to work.  Even though some of the tools were too big for them and unfamiliar they were undeterred.  Polite…they listened closely when things were explained to them and as disciplined as you could expect scouts of their age to be.  The Boy Scouts are led by Scout Master Mike Fox and the pack leader is Cub Master Sherri Stovall.  I believe that this is their first full year in operation at Nolan and it looks like they will be around for awhile.

Thanks to all that came out to help!

"Helpful"

“Helpful”

"Friendly"

“Friendly”

"Be Prepared"

“Be Prepared”

"Do a good turn daily"

“Do a good turn daily”

"Standing Proud"

“Standing Proud”

The Scout Oath 

On my honor, I will do my best,

To do my duty to God, and my country,

and to obey the scout law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong;

Mentally awake, and morally straight.

Comments (3) »

Unfinished Business – 4th Quarter 2012

Back towards the end of 2012 I decided I needed to take a break from publishing content about the garden and as a result I am a little backed up.  Yielding to the demands of my readers, associates, the school and my sponsors I am back at it, in full writing mode…the torch has been re-lit and my spirit burns to write again.  Actually, I have been kind of busy with getting several gardens going and executing a few projects for some of my other clients.  No drama…just the reality, lol!

So to bring everybody up to speed, here’s the QuickBooks version of what’s been taking place at the Nolan Elementary-Middle School Garden.

October

The garden was finally wrapping up.  The kids/students were coming every week to harvest their crops.  It was surprising how long we were able to harvest deep into the season and how great the yield was.  By the last week of October they got the last of the beans and had grown tired of the lettuce (which continued to grow until the first frost/snowfall).

DSCN0868[1] October Harvest 1

DSCN0865[1] October Harvest 2

DSCN0871[1] October Harvest October Harvest 3

DSCN0872[1] October Harvest 4

To celebrate our “survival” and our successes we had an awards breakfast at the Rescue Mission Restaurant in Highland Park.  It was a wonderful opportunity to thank the kids and their parents for their important contributions to the garden’s success.  The food was good and the mood was even better, as each child got a certificate commemorating their hard work and dedication throughout the summer.  They also received a small stipend courtesy of Bonnie Odom-Browns’ organization B.E. Culturally Exposed.

Planting The Seeds Certificate 2012

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 071

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 072

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 073

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 074

Our kids’ day was not over after the breakfast either.  After the meal they all hopped on a bus to go to Wizards Farm & Orchard, in Ypsilanti.

November

November was special because we opened a new partnership with the new administration of Nolan.  We were formally introduced to Mrs. Angela Underwood, the school principal and Ms. DeAndrea Rogers, the “Parent and Community Involvement Specialist”.  Both were highly enthused about the garden program and Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners.

We also received a generous donation of “garden pots” from Ms. June Axelrad (a vegetarian friend and supporter of the school garden).  Nolan as well as John R. King Academy received a donation of seeds from a variety of plants for the students to use in classroom projects.

December

It was Ho-Ho-Ho Merry Christmas for the kids as they were taken to lunch, bowling and to the movies as a Christmas present from B.E. Culturally Exposed and Maura Ryan-Kaiser, our sponsor, from Snelling Staffing Services.  As you can see the kids were having a marvelous time.

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 226

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 227

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 228

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 229

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 230

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 231

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 232

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 233

Bonnies Pictures 2012 and more 234

December was also a sad time because this was the last time that this group was to be together.  Some of them graduated and some moved away.  2013 will bring a totally new set of students/kids that will want to enjoy the gardening experience.  We will also be dealing with a new school administration that has promised us more support.  Lastly, there’s the new program, the School Garden Collaborative.  It looks it could be a big help to get more schools into urban gardening.  Expect to hear more about them later.

Goodbye 2012…Hello 2013!

Thanks again to our sponsors…

MIFCU logo and tagline 

Primary Sponsor

newSTAFFINGdiamondtop[1] 

 

Our Coordinator… 

Bonnie Odom-Brown – B.E. Culturally Exposed

dark_honey_bee_hemberger

Comments (3) »

The End Of The Beginning – Moving Towards The End…Harvesting!

DSCN0839

Let me begin with saying “Thanks to all of you that have found the time to read our little blog”.  We have followers from all over the world and we appreciate the interest in our small and humble effort…the Planting The Seeds Garden, managed by Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners.  Our garden drives home the point that the other community gardeners are making here in Detroit and across the United States…through positive attitudes, healthy food can be an easy option in urban areas.  This is a throwback to the times, for most of our gardeners, of their grandparents and great aunts and uncles…for them easily a generation or two ago.  A time when the “village” raised the children…everybody’s children.

So what we have here is a series of pictures as we are starting to close down the garden in August, September and October.  The weather being what it was, the school garden had a very long run.  There was lettuce that was still growing in November (that was the last time I looked…who knows, it was probably still growing up to the snowfall right before Christmas).  I have often wondered how much the kids would have harvested if we hadn’t been vandalized twice.  Putting aside any negatives thoughts, when I look at these pictures I get a very warm feeling inside.  I know the effort it took for the garden to look like this…at any point, but especially at the time when the pictures were taken.  It’s not hard to go back to when it all started…the volunteer help we had on the very first day, the ongoing efforts of Snelling Staffing Services employee/volunteers, the guidance provided by the Greening of Detroit (Lindsay Pielack and her group), the financial and material support provided by Sandra Tomlin/Michigan First Credit Union and the leadership, drive and commitment of Bonnie Odom-Brown and Maura Ryan-Kaiser, BE Culturally Exposed and Snelling Staffing Services, respectively.  Even with all of this help, the kids put in a lot of hours over the summer and they deserved this outcome…nature, in all its splendour…God, in his Glory!  Say Amen!

One thing I must reveal is that there are just a few pictures from the Harvest Picnic.  The reason for that was we were all too busy to pick up a camera.  The focus was on the kids really, as they showed off the garden to their parents, harvested some veggies (yes, they worked that day too!), received their end-of-the-season compensation, along with book bags, food harvest bags, school supplies and lots and lots of food*.  It was a great time and very satisfying to watch.

So are you ready for our magical tour?  Then, everybody sing along with me…

Green acres is the place to be.

Farm livin’ is the life for me.

Land spreadin’ out so far and wide

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside!**

What have we here?

DSCN0841

Zucchini...very impressive!

Zucchini…very impressive!

DSCN0844

A real pleasure to find…

Are you ready for some "fried green tomatoes"?

Are you ready for some “fried green tomatoes”?

DSCN0849

From a tiny seed…

DSCN0850

Look at what I’ve found!

Kale...little soldiers all in a row!

Kale…little soldiers all in a row!

Beans...beans good for the heart!

Beans…beans good for the heart!

Our new sign on display!

Our new sign on display!

The view from afar!

The view from afar!

This is how it looked in early October...nice, eh?

This is how it looked in early October…nice, eh?

October 2012

October 2012

Program Founder and Coordinator

Bonnie Odom-Brown

BE Culturally Exposed

 

Founding Sponsor

newSTAFFINGdiamondtop[1]

 

 

Presenting Sponsor

MIFCU logo and tagline

The Greening of Detroit

 

project-sweet-tomato-logo

 

*Food Sponsor:  Mazin Shina/Imperial Supermarket

**The Theme from “Green Acres” (TV show)

The End Of The Beginning – She Leaves H_ _ _ t P_ _ _ _ s!

The End Of The Beginning – A Letter Of Appreciation To Ms. Maura

The End Of The Beginning – This Is The World Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners Made!

The End Of The Beginning!

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: