Garden Journey

 

photo 2 (4)My name is Brina I’m an intern with Summer Solution.  We have a garden at a high school called Connecticut River Academy. Where we weed , water and grow fruits and vegetables also making a cleaner safer environment for the high school. Recently we had crops and decided to take them to a homeless shelter. My favorite part about working at Connecticut River Academy site is the soothing view of the connecticut river. its soothing to me because i can work in a relax manner in the garden with a beautiful outlook. I remember first starting i thought the site was so amazing. Everything was well taken care of i was so excited to join and be apart of creating something for the high school.

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

CT March Against Monsanto

Reblogged from Summer of Solutions Hartford

 

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Last week we participated in the March Against Monsanto put on by Activate CT! March Against Monsanto is a world-wide day of action against the biotech company Monsanto. They were the makers of Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, and rBGH, and now they are the leading producer of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The safety of GMOs is still up in the air, with Monsanto and the FDA saying they are safe, but independent scientists and concerned activists don’t think their studies have been through enough. When the history of Monsanto is taken into consideration, it makes sense that people would be worried about the safety of their products. For more information, check out the pamphlet below. We were in Hartford near the Old State House on May 23 handing out these pamphlets to people on the street and holding signs about Monsanto and GMOs to raise awareness. We handed out 300 pamphlets to people on the street and had some great conversations. We also included information about all the farmers’ markets and community gardens in Hartford to help residents find access to fresh, local, GMO-free produce.

Perspectives on our Garden Progress

Location: Hartford, CT

Originally posted on July 12th, 2013 on Summer of Solutions Hartford

Perspectives on our progress in the garden from two participants: 

Wesley Colbert Zion Street Community Garden:

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Working on Zion St was a big task. We had many challenges that we got through and made a tremendous change in the Zion St garden appearance as in weeding , cutting, planting and growing. We’ve made it all happen in just three weeks and we are still working to make it better . Continue reading

Dedication of the Zion Street Community Garden

Location: Hartford, CT

Originally posted on July 3rd, 2013 on Summer of Solutions Hartford

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A year ago today Wesley Colbert, our neighbor at the Zion Street Community Garden, passed away. He has been our most enthusiastic supporter and advocate, he taught our whole team how to properly shovel, and he came to every event we ever put on at the garden.
We met Wes our first day working on Zion Street. We had just started cleaning out the lots, when a man poked his head over the fence and said “are you guys building a garden or something?” When we said yes, he didn’t wait for any explanation, grabbed tools from his house, and came over. He helped us every day that first summer and in no uncertain terms made the Zion Street Community Garden possible. We are so grateful for his enthusiasm, love, understanding, and astounding gardening skills. We miss him dearly.
Today we will be officially naming the Zion Street Garden after him – The Wesley Colbert Zion Street Community Garden.

Announcing Hartford’s Spring Fundraising Campaign on IOBY!

Summer of Solutions Hartford

Today we launched a 30 day campaign to raise $4,000 on ioby.org to support young people who want to dedicate their summers to working with Summer of Solutions Hartford!

Summer of Solutions Hartford’s IOBY Campaign 

We have so many wonderful applicants this year, and we’re excited to invite them to join our program and spend their summers immersed in food justice; learning about urban agriculture, home sustainability, leadership development, and healthy cooking.

Every participant will work for at least 20 hours/ week in one of our urban community or school gardens, caring for the plots and helping neighbors and students grow healthy, fresh food in the city, in addition to 20 hours/week of volunteering, workshops, and community events!

Can you help us raise $4,000 for need-based stipends by donating to our ioby.org campaign today? You can donate here!

Any amount you can contribute will be appreciated. You can also…

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You’re Invited: To the Spring Opening of the Wesley Colbert Zion Street Community Garden!

Summer of Solutions Hartford

On April 19th, Summer of Solutions is opening the Wesley Colbert Zion Street Community Garden with a community workday from 2-6pm!

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You should come if:

– You want your own 4’x6′ plot at the garden this season

– You want to bring your community, school, or religious group to volunteer for the afternoon

– You love being outside in the dirt and want to help your neighbors plant!

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Food Justice at the CT River Academy

Summer of Solutions Hartford is one of a few local organizations participating in the food justice workshop series at the CT River Academy in East Hartford, CT. Last week, we had a booth at their food justice fair. Students had an hour in the fair to talk to representatives from urban farms, seed companies, dining services, green jobs organizations, and local food producers.

At our booth, we had information about the program, and an origami seed pot activity. We had a big box of soil, some basil, parsley, and flower seeds, and a lot of newspaper.

IMG_6823Each student learned how to fold a square of newspaper into a little seed pot, and then planted some seeds to take home! The boxes turn out impressively sturdy. Continue reading

Inspiration to Join Summer of Solutions 2013 by April 14th!

The 2013 Summer of Solutions programs are accepting participant applications until April 14th!  Apply here!  Keep reading to learn about the life-changing experience that Summer of Solutions was for our alumni!

1Emily Stiever: “It was one of the first times where I could see what my life could look like in the future: the ability to work on social issues that I cared about and to live sustainably in community with people who shared a similar passion.” Read more…

1Ashley Trull: “I learned how to have creative confidence, which to me is being willing to put yourself and your ideas out there, boldly, knowing that you have the skills and resources within yourself and your community to make it a reality.” Read more…

1Nathaniel Cook: “Summer of Solutions was probably the most influential experience that I have ever had, and it has shaped me, my experiences, and my relationships ever since.” Read more…

1Shoshana Blank: “Even as young college students, we were able to do some big things in Summer of Solutions-Twin Cities because we were well organized. We could offer solutions to community members and be taken seriously because we had a plan of action and materials to back us up.”  Read more…

1Colin Higgins: “One of the main things that I took away is that I really enjoy teaching others, especially youth, about environmental issues and solutions.” Read more…

1Cecelia Watkins: “The greatest thing I took with me was a deep sense of practical empowerment—a sense that money is far from the only resource we can leverage for change, a sense that we are rich in those other resources.” Read more…

1Brianna Besch: “I still remember the first week of Summer of Solutions training as one of the most inspiring things I have ever done.” Read more…

2Ethan Viets-Vanlear: “SoS really taught me a way to help a community without being part of various systems of oppression and control that dominate most organizations and institutions in our society.” Read more…

Inspired yet?
Become a solutionary and apply to join Summer of Solutions 2013!

During the Summer of Solutions, you will receive training in community organizing and sustainable community development techniques. You will use these skills to demonstrate the promise of energy efficiency, community-based energy, green industry, local food production, and/or smart design as described in the locations you choose. Beyond the concrete skills you learn, Summer of Solutions will be a really fun community-based experience. It is a great chance to grow with, learn from, and work with other incredible young people and community leaders who are building a better future.

Now accepting participant applications: Arleta, CA; Chicago, IL; Hartford, CT; Iowa City, IA; Ithaca, NY; Johnson City, TN; Lexington, KY; Little Rock, AR; Middleton, WI; Oakland, CA; Raleigh, NC; Southern West Virginia; Twin Cities, MN; and Washington, DC!

Applications are due on 4/14/2013. Some programs may keep their local applications open beyond 4/14, but there is no guarantee that any specific program will do so.

Find more details and the online application here!

Hello! from Hartford, CT

Hi Everyone, I’m Sarana, Ra for short. This year will be my first year as a member of the Summer of Solutions team in Hartford CT. I learned about the program through another food justice organization I work for in the city called Cooking Matters.  As I have just returned from Wisconsin, to my home city of Hartford, CT, I have been so inspired by the many initiatives within the city to make food scarcity, and access to healthy affordable foods a priority in our communities. My work revolves around sustainability and social justice, primarily with youth. I combine these passions by being part of initiatives that serve to empower underserved demographics  of people. This has taken many faces from, teaching art with youth, to running a permaculture garden at a local community center, to teaching sexual health to young women and working as a doula for a non-profit organization. I love the many ways there are to be involved in supporting, enlivening, and contributing to the overall health of our communities. It is in fact, our natural state of being.

Continue reading