Members of St. Nick’s Episcopal Church in Scarborough, Maine have accepted KGI’s challenge to sing into carrots in support of KGI’s Sow It Forward minigrants program. Congregation members are not only walking the talk but singing it too by starting a food garden project on the church’s grounds which will grow food for the Scarborough Food Pantry.
Here’s how #carrotoke works:
- Post a photo or video of yourself singing into a carrot. Tag with #carrotoke
- Invite/tag 3 other fun-loving, carrot-crunching friends to do the same
- Make a tax-deductible donation to give healthy food gardens (and carrots!) to folks in need here: http://carrotoke.org/donate
The IDEP Foundation is a nonprofit based in Bali - Indonesia. This spring it used its Sow It Forward grant to build new staircases into their permaculture demonstration gardens and to repair fish ponds. Each year, the gardens welcome over 1000 students including many with special needs and its important that they have safe access to them.
Around the world, women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. They hold nearly half of all jobs in the US but fewer than 25 percent of STEM jobs. Given this imbalance, KGI was very happy to offer a Sow It Forward grant to Vermont Works for Women this spring to help them teach young women how to build needed structures for their gardens like raised beds, fencing, a new picnic table and a bench.
Our parade of good garden news continues via our Sow It Forward garden grantees. Next stop: the Growing Healthy Kids Community Garden in Carrboro, North Carolina: http://kgi.org/growing-healthy-kids-community-garden
Nkechi Ibe (left) is from the town of Aba in the eastern part of Nigeria. She moved to North Carolina with her family five years ago. She began gardening in 2013. Prior to that, she had no gardening experience either in the states or in Africa.
When asked why she joined the project, Nkechi said that she wanted to grow healthy vegetables for her kids and that she wanted her kids to learn how to garden. When asked what her favorite thing is about being part of the garden, Nkechi replied “My okra! I eat okra a lot!”
Her oldest daughter Ogechi says she too has learned how to grow food, how deep to plant the seeds and she likes eating the fresh food. Her little brother Ikenna and sister Chesson love to fill the watering cans and help water their plot. They enjoy playing with the other kids that come to the garden. The family also like the potluck dinners held at the garden and the chance to socialize with the other gardeners. Nkechi really appreciated a clothes and toy swap that organized earlier in the season for families to exchange gently used items.
The Ibe family members are very happy to be part of the Growing Healthy Kids Community Garden and KGI is happy to support their community garden through a Sow It Forward grant.
All children should have a chance to see and taste where good food comes from and to play in a safe, healthy setting!
Let’s hear it for Carla who’s growing her first garden ever this year for herself and her daughter in Frederick, Maryland!
Together, they’re growing collard greens, sweet peas, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and herbs. Their garden is located at Lucas Village, a public housing neighborhood that serves 92 low-income families, and is one of our 160 Sow It Forward grantees this year.
Located over a mile from the nearest grocery store, Lucas Village is considered a food desert which is complicated by the fact that many of the residents do not own a car and rely on family or friends for transportation. Over 90% of the families that live in the community receive some form of food assistance whether it is SNAP benefits, WIC, or both and make regular trips to the food bank to supplement their remaining food needs. The garden, in conjunction with various classes being offered, is helping residents become vested in their meals by learning where their food comes from and having the opportunity to grow their own.
Here at KGI, we’re very pleased to be able to help Carla and the other Lucas Village residents grow their own healthy foods. If you’d like to know more about their project, you can see their project page here: http://kgi.org/lucas-village-community-garden
Grow, Carla, grow!
I went outside this morning to put a couple letters in our mailbox and had one of those rare moments when I saw my own garden with a fresh set of eyes and actually liked what I saw. In case it’s useful, I thought I’d offer a few explanations of what’s growing on in this 10’ x 10’ plot
Yesterday I wrote about how kitchen gardens can help rehabilitate those whose lives have derailed. Gardens also have the power to heal as is the case with US Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Rice featured in this photo with his wife Brittany.
Michael served two combat tours in Al Anbar Province (Iraq) and in Marjeh (Afghanistan) and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He sees gardening as therapy. Always willing to assist in anyway, Michael is seen regularly at the Federal City Community Garden ( see more about this KGI-sponsored project here: http://kgi.org/federal-city-community-garden ) helping the other gardeners design, plant and maintain their beds while still managing our three compost bins.
Since the garden’s conception, Sgt. Rice has played a leadership role in the garden’s operation. He has helped organize and has participated in three volunteer builds, which constructed a total of 41 cinder-block raised beds for active duty military, Reservists, Department of Defense workers, in addition to New Orleans Westbank residents, a population that has been traditionally underserved.
As Michael says “there is just something about putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually watching something grow from seed to harvest. You are creating and nurturing something absolutely beautiful. Gardening eases my stress and improves my mood while providing my family with fresh healthy food.”
"The sense of community that has developed from the Federal City Community Garden is phenomenal. Our gardeners have become like family," says Michael. And that family is about to grow: Michael and Brittany are expecting a new baby in July.
Sgt. Michael Rice: we salute you!