On Wednesday, February 26th
, educators from across Lake County gathered for a daylong School Garden Conference in Middletown. The conference, organized by the NCO Gardens Project, was a professional development opportunity for those working to incorporate gardening into their
Kelseyville Elementary School, Cobb Mountain Elementary School, Riviera Elementary School, Middletown Christian School, Middletown International Charter School, and the Konocti School District all sent representatives to take back information to their respective sites. Many attendees were part of the Lake County School Garden Collaborative, a group of teachers, parents, and administrators who gather seasonally to exchange best practices and work together to address the challenges that face school garden programs.
The School Garden Conference was made possible by the fundraising efforts of Middletown International Charter School. Attendees took part in a variety of learning opportunities where they exchanged ideas about maintaining their school gardens and using them as educational tools. Barbara Howe, Health Services program coordinator of CalFresh Healthy Living, led an interactive activity about connecting the garden to curriculum standards. She demonstrated that a school garden could be a living classroom for evidence- based curriculum on any subject, including Math, Science, and Language Arts.
Cindy Leonard, co- founder of the Lake County School Garden Collaborative, led the group in a discussion about fundraising in the afternoon. Leonard has been involved with the Cobb Mountain Elementary school garden since her daughter attended the school. She says, “School Gardens help our students educationally and emotionally, as well as helping them learn healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult for schools to fund these outdoor classrooms. By banding together to form the Lake County School Garden Collaborative, we can leverage resources and find ways to financially support these important gardens.”
Following the fundraising forum, the group visited the Middletown Community Garden for a workshop about soil fertility and compost. The workshop was led by the U.C. Master Gardeners of Lake County. There, educators were joined by many local community gardeners who share a passion for growing fresh, healthy food and were happy to share their insights into gardening in Lake County.
At the end of the day, educators collaborated on a garden planning session. As they looked forward to the upcoming planting season and school year, they developed a timeline of action steps for their gardens and how to continue to make the gardens engaging and educationally valuable for students. While discussing action steps to make their goals a reality, the conversations hinged on fundraising and volunteer efforts.
School garden educators cannot accomplish the goal of bringing gardening to the classroom without the widespread support of their community. If you would like to learn more about the School Garden Collaborative and how you can get involved, email Cindy Leonard at email@example.com.
Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! Broccoli is a powerhouse vegetable that can be grown year-round in most parts of our county. It’s undeniably a vegetable that deserves more praise.
Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! Before the holidays we had an olive brining workshop, reminding us that olive season is ending soon. These little fruits have a lot to offer so be sure to harvest them while you can!
READ MORE >
Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! We’re seeing more and more persimmons this time of year. While often an undervalued and misunderstood fruit in the U.S., these beauties offer ample health benefits.
Today brings a new gardener spotlight in our “pollinator effect” series.
Last week, we introduced you to Susana, a community gardener utilizing her garden plot not only to feed herself and her family, but dozens of people facing cancer. This week, meet Robert Patton, manager of the FLOW community garden in Lucerne.
Rob became involved with the FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water) garden seven years ago. Rising water prices implemented by Cal Water spurred on community organizers to take control of their resources. The FLOW community garden was born out of their organizing efforts and remains part of their legacy.READ MORE >
Over the last couple of weeks, you’ve met some of the folks in the Gardens Project network whose work has ‘the Pollinator Effect’. This week, meet a busy bee who sows health and wellbeing next to her tomatoes and chiles in the garden.
Susana Aguilar has been the manager of the Washington Street Community Garden in Ukiah since it opened its gates over seven years ago. “One thing that is very important to me is to come to the garden and stay busy here,” she says. Susana can often be found weeding pathways, caring for the community herb garden, fixing the compost, or attending to the miscellaneous garden tasks that always seem to spring up. “I don’t just do my plot,” she says, “wherever I see it has something to be done, I do it.”
Susana’s dedication is part of what makes her a good manager, but she also brings exceptional generosity and a lifetime of learning to the community garden. “My father used to plant corn and beans on the mountains,” Susana remembers, “I used to go with my father and help him, pulling weeds from the garden.” After moving to the United States from Mexico, Susana worked on a crew with her husband in the vineyards. Now, she brings her years of knowledge to the community garden. “I just want people to learn from my skills,” says Susana. "I don’t want to tell people what to do… I just want to teach them, share whatever I can do, and if people want to try what I know, they can.”
Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! We’re hyping up rutabagas today – a vegetable that is often undervalued.
Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! The abundance of pomegranates is being shared far and wide!
Throughout the month of November, we will be showing gratitude to people in our community whose work has what we like to call the "Pollinator Effect". Just like pollinators are a small but mighty part of the life cycle and keep things growing, these people are part of a cycle that’s much bigger than themselves. Their impact grows exponentially as it influences friends and family, shapes the minds of youth, creates resiliency and much more.
Sign up to keep up with what's growin' on
around Mendocino County and Lake Counties!