Program Spotlight: Gardening
To teach kids about healthy and sustainable living, several of our Clubs have gardens where kids grow food that they can prepare and eat. Often established by an employee or volunteer with a passion for plants, each garden is unique to its community. Get a peek behind the blackberry bush into gardening programs at four of our Clubs!
In beds built by United Way volunteers in 2016, Federal Way kids learn the basics of gardening. This year, Club members added a third blueberry bush and learned how to attract bees with flower bushes. Kids planned and mapped out the beds, researching where plants should go and how to create the best environment for them to grow. With help from Weyerhauser volunteers, the kids planted all kinds of veggies including spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, rainbow carrots, sweet peas, and — most exciting — watermelon! Soon, they plan to pickle cucumbers from the garden and make a pizza with their own tomatoes. An added bonus of the garden is that it makes a great habitat for insects that Club members study in a Bug Safari program!
With funding from a number of grants, North Seattle's garden was developed in 2013 by a green-thumbed education director. Now, the garden is maintained almost entirely by Club members. This past year, a high school member directed younger kids in planting seeds, watering the garden, and learning about what plants need in order to grow. Our young gardeners grew tomatoes, kale, raspberries, carrots, and radishes. The kids are always super excited to help in the garden and try new vegetables!
The Smilow Rainier Vista Club garden started with a few pots of basil and other herbs. Now, Club members grow all kinds of plants, including grapes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and peppers. The Club's Nutrition Specialist, Patrice Freeman, is the garden guru who passes on her passion for gardening to members. The kids really enjoy seeing the whole process of planting a seed, nurturing it, harvesting the plant, and then turning that into delicious and healthy food. Thanks to Ms. Patrice and many awesome volunteers, we see our youth becoming future farmers and chefs! Special thanks to Office Depot for helping to reinvigorate our garden during the company's Day of Caring.
What do fish have to do with gardening? See for yourself at the Rotary Club! Dr. Phil, an enthusiastic volunteer and professor at Seattle University, teaches kids about gardening through an aquaponics system. Aquaponics is a sustainable method of raising both fish and vegetables, in which the fish provide organic fertilizer for the plants, and the plants help clean the water for the fish. With this system, city farmers don't need an outdoor garden to grow their food. In the Rotary garden, kids grow butter lettuce that they used to make Thai chicken lettuce wraps!
Gardening programs at our Clubs are possible because of generous donations of time and resources from individuals, corporate partners, foundations, and community volunteers.
Want to get involved? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!