Youth Garden Workshops
It has been quite a busy season with lots of growing all around.
Your support this year has been integral in helping us reach new communities. We have been able to provide over 70 workshops this year and have hosted a cumulative total of 250 programmatic gardening events from gardening with individuals with developmental disabilities, to building gardens with school classes and providing hands-on gardening education to youth in Denver.
I would like to share a few stories and pictures from this year’s busy season with you.
This spring, we worked with an elementary school class to revitalize a few vacant garden beds which had gone to hard-pan. The afternoon was full of broad forking the stubborn, dense soil, followed by amending and planting all with a healthy dose of scouting and identifying bugs in the garden. To share a personal memory from this day, there was one boy in particular who was quite energetic with enthusiasm to spare, even after running between the series of garden beds all afternoon; at the end of the day, as the teachers were taking the kids back indoors, he exuberantly proclaimed that this was his ‘Best Day Ever The Entire Year!’. This to me this is what it’s all about, helping to bring the experience of gardening to Denver youth.
We were fortunate this year to be able to bring on a full time School-Garden liaison to help support outreach. With this extra support we were able to begin partnering with a daycare facility. We constructed and planted three raised bed gardens, and then provided workshops once per week to the kiddos. During one workshop, we planned an activity with worms – we provided red wigglers and nightcrawlers and counted them, measured them, and lastly placed them all around the garden beds. At first, some of the youth were afraid of the worms, calling them snakes and staying far away; by the end of the day, all of the kids were eagerly jumping in to help the worms find a carefully selected home in the garden beds.
We maxed out all of our gardens in the community by beginning early this spring with a series of cold season vegetables followed by the planting of warm season starts and then filling-in as needed late this summer with another round of cool season crops. This mixture of plants allowed us to grow in the early cold spring months and is providing a little boost of a harvest now in October. We write a weekly blog during the growing season for anyone who is interested in learning more about Jovial Concepts or gardening in Colorado! You can follow us by signing up for the newsletter at the bottom of our homepage: https://jovialconcepts.org/
Following this year’s hot summer, fall is predicted to last a bit longer than usual and we intend to make use of every moment before winter weather stops our gardening for the season. This past week (Oct. 1), we harvested over 100lbs of produce from our Saturday garden activities; this fresh organic produce is weighed and then provided to a Denver food bank. You can bet our garden team will keep at it as long as possible!
In other news, Jovial Concepts is in the process of moving to a new hub location! This will provide us with an opportunity to build a long-term facility where we can provide hands-on education about gardening, healthy food, and share sustainable food access with a broader audience. I am excited to share more with you all next year!
Warm regards from the Jovial Team!
A bountiful harvest this summer
A youth gardening workshop
Gardening with community
A garden this early spring full of lettuce
Renovating a school garden