Growing More Than Veggies – Fall Series

— Written By Quina Weber-Shirk and last updated by
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Alongside fresh produce, community and school gardens grow deep relationships and community engagement, provide space for physical and mental wellness, and support life-long learning and academic success. This series will focus on aspects of community development highlighted through gardening. All programs will be held the 3rd Tuesday of the month, from 6–7 p.m. We plan to offer 4 sessions this fall.

This series focuses on resources and experiences for community and school gardeners in Forsyth and Guilford counties, and is open for anyone to attend! Each session will include both a presentation and time dedicated to questions, discussion, and dialogue. This is a free program, but registration is required. Registration is available on the Eventbrite pages for each session.

Please see the information below for more details about each session.

August 17 – Grow Your Own Fertilizer

Register online!

Using cover crops in our gardens is a great way to imitate Nature’s time-tested method for protecting and improving soil and soil life. By growing plants intentionally, with the goal of returning them back to the soil, we can improve garden health in many ways. including increasing soil organic matter, improving soil structure, enhancing soil biological life, as well as providing a safe and environmentally-sustainable source of nutrients for your plants. Many cover crops also support a wide variety of beneficial insects, including pollinators and helpful predatory insects – yet another reason to keep cover crops growing in your garden! Join us in this workshop exploring cover crops and soil health with Julie Hale, Community Garden Coordinator with Greensboro Parks & Recreation. Julie will lead a virtual tour of Keeley Park Community Garden and the many ways they incorporate cover crops, discuss the benefits of growing your own fertilizer, and how to design a planting and management plan for your community or school garden.

September 21 – Therapeutic Gardening & Mindfulness

Register online!

Anyone who loves to garden will agree that being outdoors and digging in the dirt makes you feel good, but did you know there is an entire discipline dedicated to this idea? Therapeutic horticulture is the practice through which participants enhance their well-being through active or passive involvement in plant and plant-related activities. Gardens not only build community and grow fresh produce; they also serve as healing spaces that encourage mindfulness and address a wide range of human needs–including emotional, social, physical, and spiritual needs–that can affect our well-being. Join us for a presentation from registered horticultural therapist, JoAnn Yates, as she discusses the benefits of therapeutic gardening and how to facilitate mindful activities in garden spaces. 

October 19 – Many Hands: Managing Volunteers in the Garden

Register online!

Volunteers are a crucial part of sustaining community gardens, but building and maintaining a volunteer base can be challenging. In this workshop, we will explore the many dimensions of volunteering, covering recruitment and placement, training, supervision, and evaluation. It is important that gardens are able to maximize the help of volunteers, create enjoyable and meaningful experiences, and establish equitable environments for all garden volunteers. This workshop will be led by Quina Weber-Shirk, Community and School Gardens Agent in Guilford County, and Cameron Waters, Community Garden Program Coordinator in Forsyth County.

November 16 – Youth as Food System Change-Makers

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Join us for a presentation and discussion about youth as change-makers with Bevelyn Afor Ukah. Bevelyn is the Youth Food Systems Coordinator with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, where she facilitates the Food Youth Initiative. The FYI Youth are a collective of youth representatives (high school, continuing GED, and recent grads) and their youth organizers from groups across the state who are already working towards some aspect of food justice in their own communities. FYI youth envision and support the advancement of a just food system. Food Youth Initiative works with the belief and knowledge that youth are already doing amazing work; they are not only future leaders but current change-makers. The FYI network is designed to build relationships across organizations that are already doing food justice organizing work in their own communities across North Carolina.