Food Happens: A Teaching Garden will provide an environment where all are welcome to come and learn about where our food comes from.
Lyndhurst, New Jersey on a cement patio behind a commercial space on the main street.
Why do we need the donations? What will they be used for?
We need to buy many items for the garden from the straw bales that will be the foundation of the garden since we have a cement back yard, to soaking hoses, a repair that just materialized - fixing the outside water spigot (which broke with the deep freeze we had this winter) the seedlings (organic and GMO free) the support brackets for the climbing plants, gardening tools, rain collection barrels, lady bugs, some soil, gloves for the volunteers, and the list goes on.
We also want to give each person that is receiving food for their family from the local food pantries a free copy of the recipe book Good and Cheap - How to eat on $4/day by Leanne Brown along with some produce from the garden as well as cooking lessons and nutrition education and so much more.
We need to separate the space from the neighbors property so we will need to build a fence which we want to make a living fence with wooden pallets and landscape fabric. Soil in along with more plants will fill the vertical pallets which will make every possible area available for food production.
Here are current photos so you can appreciate what needs to be done and where the donations will go.
Since it is all cement - the straw bales are a perfect option - and will show others that there are work a rounds, affordable ones, that are available.
Why is this needed?
It all started when the creator of the garden project and founder of Weight Wellness Center was doing a nutrition intervention at an elementary school for first and second graders. She was discussing different foods and held up ripe, red tomatoes. She asked the class what they were. "Cherries" exclaimed one girl, " Apples" said another, "Zucchini", "Limes" ... many answered were offered but none of them correct until finally a child yelled out, "Tomatoes!" That alone was bothersome. Then she asked where they came from. "Shop Rite!" was the resounding response. This was when it became apparent that children, especially, need to connect with the food on their plate. But adults have to be on board too to make this happen!
There is an overweight and obesity epidemic in this country. The CDC states that, "If left unchecked, Americans born after the year 2000 will be the first generation of Americans to die at a younger age than their parents." WOW. Connecting families to their food is one step towards helping to address this epidemic.
Research findings published March 2015 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that of the 9,000 children they studied 40 percent did not have good cholesterol levels, almost none ate a healthy diet regularly, and 30 percent were overweight or obese. If a child starts off with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, he or she is far less likely to develop chronic, expensive diseases that can take years off a productive life. More than 90 percent of children got too little fruits and vegetables, according to the report. Discussions about food, cooking at home, limiting sugary beverages, teaching children about food sources, including them in food shopping and meal preparation are some things parents can do to introduce these concepts to children from a young age. Food Happens: A Teaching Garden will be a way to make this happen.
The Food Happens: A Teaching Garden project will help community members get back to "playing in the dirt" and understanding how much effort goes into producing one red tomato, from so many aspects. Then, when finally experiencing that moment when a ripe tomato, warmed by the sun, is picked, sprinkled with a little salt and bitten into; As those warm juices run down a forearm, it all comes together!
"Garden Angels" have already donated a standing garden bed so people with back or joint troubles, those in wheelchairs, anyone that can't bend or kneel can still participate. A shade canopy has also been pledged, and an outdoor portable garden sink too! This is important because the garden will be made available to the Special Angels Recreation program for children and young adults with Autism. Fragile X, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, ADD, ADHD and other different needs.The location is ADA compliant and accessible to all. Straw bale planters will be featured predominantly and will complete the space.
Weight Wellness Center™ will donate time in their teaching kitchen to continue the education. By providing cooking demos, tasting events and more, they will fully engage the participants in making the most of the garden bounty in ways that are easy, delicious, nutritious and budget friendly.
Surplus from the garden will be made available to local soup kitchens through the Rock and Wrap It Up™ food recovery program.
The passion that we have for all things food is abundant and will be shared free of charge! That is the biggest reason why we need the funds - so we can provide all the services and surplus FREE OF CHARGE with the help of your donations!
Risks and challenges
Challenges ... having a successful Kickstarter campaign! But we have faith that people will help us reach our goal so we can get this program started.
Local community garden clubs that already do straw bale gardening are on board to lend their help and expertise. Students from area colleges and universities will be able to earn credits through internships and practicums, senior centers have agreed to post volunteer opportunities for those individuals that had to give up their gardens when they moved into senior living apartments but who still have a passion for "playing in the dirt", scouts can earn badges and so much more. So - we think hands on help won't be a problem.
With the crazy weather that this area is experiencing, a drought and water restrictions are possible this season, but having learned from my Dziadziu (Grandfather in Polish) a garden can grow anywhere (Passaic, NJ) and water falls from the sky - you just have to grab it. So rain water barrels will be used to hydrate the garden as much as possible. Pests, maybe. Sustainable gardening practices will be used and critters like lady bugs will be released.
Risks are part of life ... handling them knowledgeably and with respect for all people, plants, animals, and the environment will be first and foremost in our approach. Oh - and the key to addressing risks and challenges is not being afraid to ask for help!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)