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Community Gardening and Education at OIC

26 Feb 2020, by Admin in Education
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Community Gardening and Education

Despite the majority of Washington state’s food being grown in this fertile valley, people don’t have access, education or tools to it. Through a community garden, we can give individuals, especially children and clients of the food bank, an opportunity to learn basic gardening skills and grow their own fresh and healthy food.

The Fruitvale Community Garden was active several years ago, but the lead cultivator of the garden moved on. The space has raised beds, an arbour, some perennial herbs, and is very close to a local elementary school, food bank, and VA center. Within the first couple of months the garden engaged over 100 volunteers to come clear the garden of overgrowth and begin the revitalization of the space. The plan going forward is to continue to engage local community members, food bank clients, veterans, students and teachers to create a flourishing and sustainable garden space, which can carry on for many years to come.

Yakima Health Department has also expressed interest in pursuing the development of a WE Day schools project with the community. Other schools in the area have utilized the curriculum and funding to start school gardens that also have given free seed starts and produce to those in need. There are several of schools in the area that have expressed interest in pursuing and hopefully replicating similar gardens, but specific to this community and their needs.Other possible partnerships include local growers and master gardeners to provide a wide array of workshops, resources such as plant starts and tools, produce sharing and more!  For feedback, after workshops and lessons we hope collect input through surveys. Currently, surveys conducted at the food bank includes clients opinions on what foods they’d like to see more of, as well as recipes they’d like to try. 

The photos shown below are the before and after of the garden for this 2019 season. The first one taken in June is the garden being dug out from under the years of wild weeds that overtook the raised beds and perennials. The last one is a photo is a photo from early September mulched and veggie producing raised beds.