This past month, Village Gardens received a small grant award from Garden Partners to support two of our inter-generational projects, the Plant Starts Project and the Livestock Project. Since 1999, Garden Partners has designed and delivered innovative therapeutic gardening programs to participants in eldercare facilities and for at-risk children. Vital to the success of their programs were the staff and many volunteers who shared their passion for the people-plant connection.
Garden Partners is proud to be supporting the Janus Youth Village Gardens Program with a gift of $5,000. This gift was given to Garden Partners at year-end 2011 from Safeco Insurance Company, in honor of Bill Dickey of Morel Ink, the recipient of Safeco’s Community Hero Award. Garden Partners will be ending their day-to-day operations in Summer 2012, and is excited that Village Gardens will be carrying on this important work of inter-generational and purposeful garden and farm related programming, improving the social, emotional and physical health of participants and all those involved!
This grant will specifically support two inter-generational projects at Village Gardens:
The Plant Start Project is a collaboration between community garden adult/senior leaders and the Food Works youth farmers. For the past few years Food Works youth and adult gardeners have worked to start their own vegetable starts for the farm and garden projects at Village Gardens. Every year there are starts left over, and so this year, the teams are joining together to improve their plant start production and start a micro-enterprise venture to help to support their projects. Youth farmers have led workshops with adults and senior gardeners to improve the group’s plant propagation techniques, as well as workshops on selling at the farmers market where the plant starts will be sold. A youth Crew Leader has been coordinating the farmer’s market booth with adult/senior volunteers, and people of all ages will contribute to seeding, transplanting, watering, and selling starts in the community at low-cost and at the farmer’s market to raise additional funds for the gardens and farm.
The Growing Livestock Project is an opportunity for adults/seniors from the community, who have formed a livestock committee to collaboratively raise laying hens, and the children’s club to learn to raise chickens together. Led by a number of seniors and other adults from our affordable housing developments, the livestock committee originally partnered with Food Works teenagers to raise chickens on the Food Works Farm on Sauvie Island. Because transportation to the site was difficult for many individuals, the livestock committee successfully moved the chickens to the St. Johns Woods Apartments, where they now live adjacent to the Big Apple Garden Club garden. With the chickens now in everyone’s backyard, kids club children have begun to help to take care of the chickens with the support of livestock committee seniors and adults.
Village Gardens would like to thank Garden Partners for their belief in our work and for passing on this gift which will support incredible youth-adult partnerships.