Exhibit In a Day: 3 Ways to Grow Food in A Window

Reblogged from Summer of Solutions Hartford

I’m on the team working at the Burns Latino Studies Academy and the Connecticut Trash Museum. Recently, we planned to build an indoor garden exhibit at the museum using recycled materials.

This is the wall where we installed the exhibit. It has three big windows. Step 1: Remove the window blinds
This is the wall where we installed the exhibit. It has three big windows. Step 1: Remove the window blinds

The exhibit is an inside garden used as an example of things you can create in your own garden, house, or apartment. The purpose of the exhibit is to show that you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own food and it can be as simple as hanging curtains on a window. We installed the garden in one big workday on June 27th as to interrupt the museum visitors as little as possible. We planted a variety of things that need just the right amount of space to grow in a box, gutter, or plastic bottle. We planted swiss chard, lettuce, parsley, rosemary, mint, strawberries, and succulents, cilantro, basil, and a few flowers.

This is Tenaya painting the gutter garden. The gutters were recycled from a construction project. We cut  them to 4 feet, drilled drainage holes and wire holes in the bottom, and cemented gutter caps to the edges.
This is Tenaya painting the gutter garden. The gutters were recycled from a construction project. We cut them to 4 feet, drilled drainage holes and wire holes in the bottom, and cemented gutter caps to the edges.
Step 3: We filled each gutter with soil and transplanted our seedlings. Next, we installed hooks over the window frame and hung the gutters. At home, you can just hang them, but because the museum has thousands of children visit each year, we also drilled the gutters into the window frame on each side, so they couldn't be tipped over.
We filled each gutter with soil and transplanted our seedlings. Next, we installed hooks over the window frame and hung the gutters. At home, you can just hang them, but because the museum has thousands of children visit each year, we also drilled the gutters into the window frame on each side, so they couldn’t be tipped over.
This is Brendan and Tenaya mixing compost and manure to make a soil mix for the gutters.
This is Brendan and Tenaya mixing compost and manure to make a soil mix for the gutters.

The first window holds a gutter garden. We built this by taking used gutters and drilling holes at the bottom. Next we strung the gutters with wire that was strong enough to hang from a window and hold the gutters once they were filled with plants and soil. After threading the wire through the gutter, we looped it at the top so the garden would have something to hang from. After assembling the garden we filled it with a mixture of manure and soil (you can use whatever you find suitable for what you want to grow) then transplanted all of our seedlings. With the help of all of our team members and volunteers we hung the gutter garden on fish hooks that we screwed to the top of the window.

Last year, Mike Roach carved a sign for the Zion Street Garden, renaming it in honor of our neighbor, Wesley Colbert. We built this box out of the scrap wood he used to practice the carving.

Last year, Mike Roach carved a sign for the Zion Street Garden, renaming it in honor of our neighbor, Wesley Colbert. We built this box out of the scrap wood he used to practice the carving.

In our second window we made a window box using recycled wood that we painted and lined with landscape fabric and plastic bags. This window will act as our activity station for children visiting the museum. Here we’ll teach them how to make recycled origami planters and more about what they can do to create a garden at home. We’ve also installed a shelf on the window to display samples and visitor creations.

First, Becky and Brendan cut holes in the bottoms and sides of recycled bottles.
First, Becky and Brendan cut holes in the bottoms and sides of recycled bottles.
Next, we wove each bottle through recycled twine to make sure they were evenly suspended.
Next, we wove each bottle through recycled twine to make sure they were evenly suspended.
We installed a hook in the window frame for each column of bottles.
We installed a hook in the window frame for each column of bottles.

The last window in the exhibit holds our bottle garden. We used recycled beverage bottles and removed the label, giving the roots of the plants an opportunity to show. We removed the top off the bottle, giving ourselves enough room to insert soil and plant inside of the bottles. Next, we poked holes onto the side of the bottom so we could have a way to hang our bottles in the window. We then threaded string vertically through the holes we poked each bottle so they’d hang about 4 inches away from each other, allowing what we planted to have room to grow. We filled the bottles with soil, transplanted our seedlings, and then hung each set of bottles on a fish hook from our window. Once the bottles were hung it created a beautiful stained glass effect that can be a great accent in any apartment or garden.

Here is our exhibit at the end of the day!

Here is our exhibit at the end of the day!

We are so grateful to our extra volunteers who came out to help us pull it off in one day! Thanks Brendan, Diane, and Joey! We are so grateful to our extra volunteers who came out to help us pull it off in one day! Thanks Brendan, Diane, and Joey

What A Yard Can Be

By: Anthony
Reblogged from Let’s Go Chicago!

The act of owning property is profound in that you become responsible for stewarding this one piece of our big old Earth. It is bizarre in that you can hide it, you can build a fence around it and tell people to stay away.

You can let just grass grow, which is not only boring, but “the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from lawn-related maintenance is four times the amount of carbon naturally collected and stored by the lawn itself.”

As our Summer of Solutions program has ended, as we look to Fall and to the next year, those of us at LETS GO Chicago are taking a moment to reflect before we dream up our future. As I harvested tomatoes (my favorite!) in our CSA garden today, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was in an exceptional space–that what was around me was not only beautiful, but full of life, engaging–a shared space that many people love together.Image Continue reading

HOPE 4 GREEN DETROIT 7 mile Community Clean-up

 

By: Dorthea Thomas

Location: Detroit, MI20130820-044329.jpg

After gaining support from various local businesses in Northeast Detroit to provide trash pick-up, our team organized another community clean-up event on E. 7 mile. After 4 hours of hard labor, our team filled up about 30 biodegradable plastic bags of wood, paper, and other trash in the community. Continue reading

What have you missed in Oakland?

By: Anahi and Sergio

Location: Oakland, CA

Dear friends and supporters of Summer of Solutions Oakland, we are happy and excited to bring you updated news of what has been going on during the past 4 weeks of camp. First of all, sorry for not keeping up, but we will assure you that here we provide you with all details of what we have been doing.  We started our camp on July 9, and started with 32 accepted kids, Sergio was able to get things going in order to provide free lunches and snacks for our kids and youth in the community. Our first week went really well even though there where 7 of us staff members; our 2nd week went even better we welcomed 9 more youth to our team.  Our staff are wonderful. They show us that they are very passionate about working with our kids. 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

LETS GO Chicago Mini-Documentary

Late last month, we teamed up with independent filmmaker Brendan Brown to produce this short video about our work building up the green economy in Chicago. The video was made for our online fundraising campaign on the FunderHut website, but also tells our story in general for those who are curious.

Watch the video and help us spread the word by sharing the links below on Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media. Here’s some suggested Facebook messages:

Check out this new video about solutionary green economy work taking place in Chicago and pass it on to friends in your networks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0O43X1tFQQ

Watch the video and support the work of young Chicago solutionaries taking back the economy with gardens, storm-water solutions, and a worker co-op in the making: http://funderhut.com/projects/view/donate-to-summer-of-solutions-2013-with-lets-go-chicago

Communities Together for a Better Future – SOS Oakland Summer Camp

Hello. Today is nearing the end of April. Anahi and Sergio, Program Leaders of SOS Oakland, are working hard on getting everything ready for this year’s summer camp.  “We are very excited for this year’s summer camp. Last year I was part of SOS Oakland and I really enjoyed it,” says Sergio, “Working with kids and with my peers was a very exciting and fun experience. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to return this year not only as a part of it but as a Program Leader.”

SOS Oakland camp gives the opportunity to youth to be a part of the community. They get to work with kids and have the opportunity to obtain the skill of being leaders themselves. This program is quite grabbing, “I heard so many good things about last year’s program from Sergio that it caught my attention. I liked the fact that teens got to work together and collaborate as a team to put together last year’s camp for the kids,” says Anahi. Continue reading