Sprout Pays it Forward!
In the Spring of 2010, the Sprout Academy was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to become renters of a community garden plot in Gabriel Park. Of course we jumped at the chance! There is so much potential for children’s learning to take place in a garden, it’s essentially an outdoor classroom!
Since that time, Southwest Community Center has utilized the plot for both the Sprout Academy educational preschool during the school year (about 50 students in the 3’s & 4’s classes) and also for Summer Sprouts camp over the summer break (about 130 campers age 4-5). The garden has 5 raised beds and is a peaceful place where students & campers have laid soil, planted, watered, weeded, harvested and made friends with fellow plot keepers.
This Fall, we began a new partnership with the Neighborhood House in MultnomahVillage to give back to the community! Gabriel Park Community Garden Volunteer Coordinator Elaine Cuyler approached us about donating produce to a local food pantry. That’s the perfect partnership for the preschool that I have been looking for: a way to help local families that children could be an active part of and know that they made a difference in their community. It’s a win-win!
Though the children won’t start trekking out to the garden until Spring, we planted a few winter crops of collard greens, kale, spinach, and green onions to start giving as soon as possible. Our kale & collard greens looked great (thanks to Elaine’s watchful eye and Teacher Rachel’s personal garden visits). We also have some tasty rosemary and other herbs such as thyme to add to the bounty.
Elaine & I went to the plot Tuesday and harvested what amounted to be 7 pounds of organic produce to donate!
It’s our first round of donating and we are exciting to keep growing healthy nutritious food for needy families for years to come! In Spring, the children will get to harvest and gather a donation so look for a follow up post in a few months! Hooray! Kelly Owen (NH Food Box Coordinator) was excited to see us and add to the fresh produce available.
To learn more about the program and how you can contribute, please visit their website at www.nhpdx.org. We’ll be visiting them regularly with whatever the season brings!