Build It Up kicked off this past month with a Backyard Gardeners Social, which was hosted in the backyard of two of the BIU program leaders, where a big chestnut tree provided enough shade to house everyone under its cool canopy. The meal was a conglomeration of tasty, nourishing homemade foods: lasagna with all backyard garden vegetables, backyard garden zucchini muffins, homemade apple crumble made from freshly harvested neighborhood apples, and a fresh tomato salad, among other items. It was identifiably a feast of gardeners.
Later in the month, Backyard Gardeners gathered for an important Soil Health workshop with animated speaker Mike Hubbs. This Build It Up workshop was hosted at the library and was open to the public. Meanwhile, program leaders Shae Keane and Taylor Malone gathered the Backyard Gardener children to explore seed saving. The children were enthused as they carefully practiced saving corn, tulsi, and sugar snap pea seed. Following the Soil Health workshop, children were reunited with their families and Build It Up distributed cover crop seed that they had mixed and prepared for the Backyard Gardeners— a mixture of crimson clover, winter wheat, hairy vetch, winter rye, and daikon radish for gardeners to spread on their gardens. Some of these will die when temperatures drop in December, and some will live through the winter to be crimped to the the ground as mulch in preparation for spring crops to be planted. 2 pound bags of seed were also sold to the public after the talk to raise funds for the program.
Speaking of preparing grounds, for their community service hours this month, one Backyard Gardener family offered their tending time and energy at Pedro’s Food Forest this past week. Build It Up Food Forest coordinators are always grateful for the assistance and the company— and together, they transformed a large bed overtaken by bermuda grass into a bed perfectly prepared for planting fall crops.
Adding to the excitement of this season are some new chapters unfolding at the Science Hill Alternative Center where Sheri Cooper, a Build It Up program leader, has been busy sowing the seeds of many important local food and gardening projects for young people at the school. Most recently, Sheri was granted funds from Lowes to construct a greenhouse in support of the projects she is doing with youth. Taylor Malone, also a Build It Up program leader, has partnered in the assembling of the greenhouse and its interior systems.
Meanwhile, Taylor has also been partnering with Shae in preparation for their upcoming Food Forest programming Sowing Seeds— a nine-month journey of place-based education for children ages 6-12 living in the neighborhoods surrounding the Mountain Home Community Food Forest. This is a programming initiative that has stemmed from their vision and hope of providing the resources, mentorship, and education to help young people cultivate living relationships with nature, and living relationships with living foods. It is also the hope that even more young people will become familiar with their local neighborhood food forests, encouraging them and their families to get outside and to enjoy the many nutritious foods that grow there— a community value that Build It Up is always trying to plant: bringing real food closer to home.