While the Garden for Every School team has been partnering with the Downtown Boys & Girls Club for the last decade, this summer was the first time we worked with staff and students at their small East Bend Club to help install a small learning garden on site.
As this space has in ground irrigation, great sun, and is in the middle of an apartment complex, we created both an in ground plot and 6 “DIY self-watering” container bins. The teens in the summer program built, planted and maintained the garden. Before the end of summer they were able to eat a small garden harvest that we brought over from our Learning Garden, as well as cucumbers from their garden.
When school was back in session, a younger crew of students and different set of staff return to the club for school year programming, with youth who live on site or close by. With these students we were able to harvest and eat more cucumbers, beans, peppers (!), ripe cherry tomatoes (and a bunch of green tomatoes that I made into salsa once they ripened and brought back for a taste test) unripe watermelon (they loved it anyway!) and tiny roasted potatoes. A local high school student was our first resident garden caretaker and was paid a stipend to water and weed weekly. We’re continuing garden work and food education through the school year and hope to plant the garden again in the spring, potentially to be a small community garden with families of the students that live on site. Here’s a brief gallery to see the progression of this small youth garden space!