Week 22: We celebrate a season of Growing Together

We could say so much about the wonders of growing food together and about what we have learned after spending 22 weeks in the garden!

We celebrate all the plants that were our teachers this season, particularly our beloved sweet potato:

 

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#No filter.  Sweet potatoes in an orange TubTrug bucket actually look as beautiful as this!  After a season of growing potatoes and sweet potatoes, there is a unanimous agreement among students to embrace the amazing sweet potato – they are easy to grow, require minimal tending, pests are not attracted to them, and their high nutrient profile make them the ideal fall harvest.

When we use our organization’s tag line of “Growing Together”, we of course celebrate all the nutritious food we grow in the Community Teaching Garden.  And we also celebrate the new friendships and connections cultivated in the garden.  During our final class, we had a closing ceremony to share words of gratitude for all that we have learned by Growing Together.

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An offering of fall-colored calendulas, marigolds, and nasturtiums decorated our garden for our last class.

Students, friends, and family gathered for one last potluck during our graduation celebration on Saturday, October 8th.  We exchanged gifts, sweet words of gratitude, a chronological slide show of photographs, and enjoyed a garden-inspired feast.

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With certificates in hand, students strike a pose.  Hooray for our graduating class of 2016 Community Teaching Garden students!

Students share their thoughts on the Community Teaching Garden course:

“It is amazing to see all of the progress and growth that occurs over the span of 22 amazing weeks.  Not only did the garden transform, but so too did all of us.  From bare soil and weeds, to prolific vegetables and herbs; from inexperienced students, to knowledgeable community gardeners.”                      – Morgan Rainville, 1st year student

“Being at the garden for two summers has shown that a city girl can become a gardener, can grow her own food and flowers, can learn and fail big, and re-connect with nature weekly with other like-minded and wonderful people.  I’m grateful for all VCGN does for communities throughout our state and the impact it has on our lives.”                            – Andrea Olson, 2nd year student

Meeting twice a week with the same group of individuals and knowing that I would be outside was really mentally helpful for me.”                                                                                 – Anonymous

“I loved everything!  But if I had to pick out one (highlight): I really like learning different ways to use herbs and vegetables in ‘atypical’ ways (like fire cider, salve, herbed butter, canning, sauerkraut, and drying herbs).”                                                                                                    – Anonymous

“I will look back on this summer as a landmark year; this course developed skills and cultivated a passion I will utilize the rest of my life.”                                              – Bill Wooden, 1st year student

“I appreciate food even more now, because I have learned how much work is actually behind all our foods. I value the work of all the people who work in growing food, I now make even more and better informed decisions on what I eat, where I eat and if I eat at all. My conscientiousness and consciousness have been more sharp now, and I share my very well informed opinions all the time. I made new friends, I spent quality time outside with Willy Wonka (dog) who was part of the group too! I made a greater connection to mother nature and the actual real values in life!”                          – Ute Monsen, 2nd year student

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