Our First Two Years and Growing Strong

By: Gabrielle Hinahara
Location: Middleton, WI

Around this time two years ago, my sister Natalie and I hatched the idea for Growing Food and Sustainability. It’s amazing to see how far our program has come since then, when it was just words and a vague vision in our minds.

Our first year taught us so much: we kept a garden alive in a record drought, learned that 9 weeks of continuous summer camp is too much, discovered how to form a close-knit team in three months, and found out that working 55+ hours per week all summer ends up burning you out before the fall harvest. We met amazing kids, ate delicious produce, got a darker tan than ever before, and tried so many new things. It was exhausting, exciting, hard, inspiring, and we knew we wanted to give it a go for a second season.

8Campers Last Year Continue reading

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Food and Discovery

By: Allison Guertler

Location: Middleton, WI

Coming from a student that just graduated from college, the world is a scary place. I took three years of Food Science before I decided it was not for me and graduated with Community and Environmental Sociology. No longer did I want to work in a food lab and create food for companies, but instead I wanted to get my hands dirty and work with those that make it happen. Growing Foods and Sustainably has given me this chance and they offered me what one of our little campers likes to call it: Farming School.

Campers at "Farming School"

Campers at “Farming School”

With only two weeks left of our summer, I have learned a great deal and have a better picture of what I want to do after this. Continue reading

Murals and Chickens in the Valley

Location: Arleta, CA

The team joined the farmer’s market at kaiser today where there was a great turnout. I can say that it was a great success and a wonderful opportunity. We will have the chance to vend next week as well. It was a great feeling to be able to speak with members of the community about our projects. It was also really refreshing to see familiar and interested faces who believe in the things that we want to keep pushing for, more community involvement.

Below are photos from the past couple of weeks. Enjoy!

 

Here we are with the chicken/roster we're still not sure..

Here we are with the chicken/roster we’re still not sure.. Continue reading

Summer Garden Camp Begins!

By: Grant Armour
Location: Middleton, WI

Happy July All! We at Growing Food and Sustainability hope you all have fun, safe and relaxing plans for the upcoming holiday weekend. Last week we had our first garden campers! We had 8 campers arrive for fun mornings on Tuesday and Wednesday with activities for our older campers (ages 10-14), from making spring rolls for snack with veggies harvested fresh from the garden and collecting compost by bike to learning about how toxins can get into our plants from the soil. Our younger group (5-10 years old) met Friday morning and learned about how and why we compost, planted squash and made safe space friendship bracelets which mark our ties to each other and remind both campers and farmers (our name for counselors) of the fact that our behavior has both intended and unintentional impacts on those that we share our lives with.

biketrailerOur Older Campers Picking Up Compost from Middleton Outreach Ministry Continue reading

Middleton Embraces Local Food and Sustainability

By: Morgan Ripp
Location: Middleton, WI

Tis’ the season, the growing season that is! It has finally arrived after a long hard winter and for gardeners the growing season beats Christmas by a land-slide. This is Morgan here and I have been part of the Growing Food and Sustainability team since the beginning in 2012. I’ve spent my time this past year volunteering with the Hinahara sisters and working with children at the youth garden. Even though my time spent will be limited this summer with GFS I am continuing to take part in gardening with local community members and will be a face around the town.

I’ve got to say that it has been a splendid summer thus far with plenty of rain and sunshine and I hope we are as lucky in the following months to produce a bountiful crop yield. This past week I have picked more strawberries than I could have ever imagined. Being a new gardener as I have been this past year, I have had an eye opener with how much food one can grow within the own boundaries of their yard. I’m telling you, if anyone would wants to cut down on their grocery bill, all they have to do is plant a small garden in their backyard. 1 Continue reading

Starting a New Season on Healthy Soil

Program Location: Middleton, WI
By: Colin Higgins

For Growing Food and Sustainability (GFS), our training week signified the end of a successful journey through our first year or so, and the fresh start of a second year.  Unlike the first training week though, this one witnessed the continuation and growth of existing programs and the beginning of even more! Likewise, this training week had more participants attending, and caused the same amount of (if not more) giddy excitement and inspiration that last year’s did.

One of the most exciting areas of growth for me to witness was that of our farmers market stand.  Last year we had a booth at the farmers market with ample kids activities  – we reached many new families with them, but did not sell any produce. This year during training week there was time for our team to plan out what we wanted the market stand to look like, with focuses on selling produce and increasing attendance at the market. I found it especially exciting that we focused on this in our training week, as it is a way to get participants involved directly with the revenue generation aspect of our program and a way to ensure a successful farmers market stand.  In our discussion we built on the rough plans to have an event promoting the market.  We decided to have a Summer Season Farmers Market Kickoff which happened yesterday, Tuesday 6/18.

Summer Kick-off flyer
Continue reading