Posts tagged Garden Resource Program

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!

 

 

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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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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!

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The End Of The Beginning – Thanking The Help!

While we still have your attention, we thought now was probably the best time to thank the people that regularly came out to help and support B.E. Culturally Exposed’s “Planting The Seeds” Garden, Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners and Project Sweet Tomato.  We couldn’t have made it without every single one of them.

Advisors/Consultants

Jenni Littsey

John Adams

The Greening of Detroit/Garden Resource Program

 

Volunteers

Jan Sansom

Bonnie Ponder

Parents and friends of Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners

 

The Staff of Snelling Staffing Services

Livonia

Southfield

Taylor

Auburn Hills

 

Food & Supplies

Mazin Shina

Imperial Supermarket

Mazin Shina

 

Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Sandra M. Tomlin

Vice President, Community Relations

Michigan First Credit Union

MIFCU logo and tagline

 

Founding Sponsor

Maura Ryan-Kaiser

Vice President, Regional Manager

Snelling Staffing Services

newSTAFFINGdiamondtop[1]

 

 

From all of us to all of you…Thank You Very Much!

 

Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners

Nolan Elementary-Middle School

 

Bonnie Odom-Brown

B.E. Culturally Exposed

 

Arthur Littsey

project-sweet-tomato-logo

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

This is the world that Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners made…

 

This is the field

that is part of the world that Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners made

 

This is the plant

from the land

that was planted by a child

in the field

that is part of the world that Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners made

 

This is a vegetable

that came from a plant

in the land

that was planted by a child

in the field

that is part of the world that Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners made

 

These are the firemen

that watered the garden

that helped the children

that grew the vegetable

in the land

that was planted by a child

in the field

that is part of the world that Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners made

 

These are the children

The Firemen helped by

watering the garden

that grew the vegetable

that came from a plant

in the land

that was planted by a child

in the field

that is part of the world that Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners made

 

To this day, our harvest day

we say “Thank You”

to the Children

to the Firemen

the vegetable

the plant

the field

for the bounty we got

in the wonderful world that Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners Made!

 

 

Revised by A. Littsey

Composed by © 2005 T.W. Brighton

 

Yes it has been quite the year, this 2012!  The Nolan’ Fierce Gardeners have had a lot to deal with working at the Planting the Seeds Garden, from vandalism to drought and yet they endured and survived.  With the way the high heat and the lack of on-site water (we had to haul in water, with the exception of the help from our firemen friends, and hand water every plant) affected everything we did, including bad weather day-offs…like thunderstorms, it was a sure bet that this year was not going to be as successful as our previous year.  But I am here to tell you that those of us that held that belief were wrong, very wrong.

The 2012 garden was different from 2011 in several ways…

  1. From day one, we had the gardeners think and develop a process for how they planted the seeds and plants.  We taught them about measurement and its relevancy for spacing and placement.
  2. They were taught them about seasonal growing (over the winter of 2011 we planted garlic)
  3. We taught them about insects…those that were harmful and those that were beneficial.
  4. They learned the importance of proper garden management, including maintenance (weeding, pest control, watering).  The garden was organic and they ensured it would remain so.
  5. We gave them management and responsibility roles…encouraging them to mature, by presenting situations/projects that had them manage it themselves.
  6. The gardeners were presented with more off-site experiences.  They went to market (Eastern Market), The Detroit Institute of Arts and the main branch of the Detroit Public Library.
  7. They experienced working at other community gardens where they learned different planting techniques and developed social skills amongst their peers and adults.
  8. THEY HAD FUN and LOTS OF IT! 
  9. They looked forward to coming to the garden bonding with the plants just as they did with each other and the adult supervisors.
  10. And we had more adult involvement!  Parents or guardians visited the garden more frequently.  Of the trips the gardeners went on, most of the time a parent was providing transportation and chaperone duty.

The gardeners took home a lot of food to share with their families.  We started harvesting vegetables in large volumes in late  August or early September, before then, only produce that was at its peak market value was picked and it was taken to market.   Overall, we got substantial yield from almost everything we grew…

  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Scallions
  • Green Beans
  • Yellow Wax Beans
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes (Big Beef, Black Cherry, Purple Cherokee)
  • Squash (Zucchini; Summer Squash)
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce (GRP Mix)
  • Sunflowers
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers

Not bad for a garden that got vandalized on numerous occasions.  The kids, oooops!  I mean “the gardeners”, worked very hard to overcome the damage that was done to the garden.  That it survived clearly demonstrates what a strong will and a strong “young” back can do!

I am sure that one of the greatest pleasures, we as adults got from working with these kids, was that they went at it on the first open harvest, picking vegetables that they could take home.  We showed them how to remove the produce from the plant… from picking beans and tomatoes to picking Kale and pulling potatoes out of the ground.  They had bags and bags of goodies…it was like the vegetarian version of Halloween.  The smiles on their faces were incredible.  They started talking among themselves as to how they were going to cook or prepare each vegetable, talked excitedly about the specific vegetables that they liked and picked and how proud they were that they did it themselves.  These were…

The vegetables

that came from  plants

from the land

that was planted by some children

in the field

That Is Part Of The World That Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners Made!

 

Bonnie Odom-Brown

BE CULTURALLY EXPOSED

Maura Ryan-Kaiser

Founding Sponsor

 

 

Presenting Sponsor

A special Thank You to the group of people from the Garden Resource Program (Greening of Detroit)…Lindsay, Tee, Eitan, Tanya, Ashley, Sarah, Cat, Kido, Giancarlo, Sara, Erin, Minni, Jeff, Elizabeth, Nate and Kristine (did I get everybody?…there’s just too many to name!).  They have been a valued resource and are great friends!

 

 

 

 

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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…

Delana

“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.”

Arlyssa

“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

Kristenique

“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.”

Tamara

“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.”

Ashia

“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.”

Isaac

“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.”

Dejahnique

“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

and

the Garden Resource Program.

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res-ur-rec-tion

Res-ur-rec-tion  [rez-uh-rek-shuhn]

noun

  1. the act of rising from the dead
  2. a rising again, as from decay, disuse, etc.; revival

Many of our readers, near and far, have asked for an update on the garden since the vandalism that took place over the last two weeks of June.  The following pictures, taken on July 6th, demonstrate the strength, character, dedication and resolve of Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners.  These kids will not be denied their full gardening experience.  They have worked twice as hard for it to get to where it is now (and beyond) and they are, rightfully so, very proud of their efforts.

Our most recent blogs talk about how the kids have taken on more responsibility in and out of the garden and these pictures clearly show what’s motivating them.  Some of the plants that they have successfully sold at market have come from this very garden and by the looks of things, come August, there will be even more for them to eat and sell!

As we approached…

What a comeback…Beautiful Kale!

Collard Greens on the rebound!

One week later little melons appeared!

These potato plants had been hacked down into nubs!

Squash,
Tomatoes
and Zuchinni
You wouldn’t believe how they looked two weeks prior

Even our “potted” plants came back!

You don’t want to know where these tomato plants started from

Do you believe in miracles?

Re-demp-tion  [re-demp-shuhn]

noun

 

  1. an act of redeeming or the state of being redeemed
  2. deliverance; rescue

This act of redemption couldn’t have been accomplished without the hard work and support of the following:

Nolan’s Fierce Gardeners

Bonnie Odom-Brown, B.E. Culturally Exposed

Maura Ryan-Kaiser & Family w/Staff of Snelling Staffing Services

Michigan First Credit Union

The Greening of Detroit/Garden Resource Program

Related Story…“Yes, Love’s In Need of Love Today and a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T Too!

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