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Edible Garden Workshop: Productive and Inspired! …and More Work Ahead

January 25, 2009
Students sketching out ideas
Small group work
Field trip!

About 50 people gathered at the school on Saturday, January 24, to work on designs for a future “Edible Garden” on the George Watts campus.

The idea of the edible garden uses the space around the campus for planting gardens. The gardens provide food and tremendous learning opportunities for all students. The first edible schoolyard was started by Alice Waters at the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, CA.  There are also edible garden projects in Pittsburgh; Wenatchee, WA; and New Orleans.

The design workshop was the first phase in getting this project off the ground at George Watts.  Parents, teachers, students, and community friends were tasked with letting their fertile imaginations run wild. What exactly will it look like? Where will everything go? What will we do with all the food we grow? (Watts students had some VERY cool answers to that last question!) Breaking into five smaller groups, participants brainstormed and sketched out ideas for gardens around the school campus.

Says Alice Bumgarner, PTA Fundraising Chair and workshop organizer:

We had a productive, inspired day! The best part was watching each small workgroup come up with its own “big ideas” for the Edible Garden, then sketch them out for the rest of us to see. I think we came away with about 25 great ideas to start working with.

D.A.D. (Durham Area Designers) will now take the groups’ ideas and sketches and coordinate them into one central plan, using concepts common to all five groups.  The next step will be to write up grant proposals to seek funding for the gardens.

Alice adds:

One thing we know for sure… We’ll need lots of ideas, involvement, sustained commitment, and digging in the dirt to make an outdoor learning environment a reality.  The power of our community will make or break this project.  So stay with us, parents and teachers! I’ll keep you updated on how and when you can jump in to help with next steps.

The addition of an edible garden will enrich the George Watts community; the process involved in maintaining the school’s garden can help feed the student body and neighborhood, not just with its harvest, but through accomplishment, understanding, pride and unity!

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Reviewing small group work
Maps of the school grounds
Visual aids

THANK YOU to everyone who came, particularly the talented designers and “special guests” who led us through our day. D.A.D., led by Dan Jewell and Steve Gaddis, brought a level of professionalism and excitement that we simply couldn’t have achieved otherwise.

D.A.D. (Durham Area Designers)

  • Dan Jewell
  • Steve Gaddis
  • Aggie Crews
  • Wally Bugel
  • Barbara Norton
  • Martha Arango
  • Katherine Gill

PARENTS and STUDENTS

  • Lizzy Gilligan and daughter Cordelia
  • Natasha Nazareth-Phelps
  • Jane Brown
  • Gary Cutick, Gillian Williams and daughter Renn
  • Jenny Cox and daughter Maggie
  • Mollie Flowe
  • Alvaro Yanez and children Jesus and Victor
  • Maria Oyaski and daughter Sigrid
  • Matt Todd and children Annabel and Phoebe
  • Kathleen Batson
  • Kathleen Raymond
  • Sarah Holsapple and son Webb
  • Steve Fugikawa (and his camera – thanks for the photos!)
  • Juana and son Giovanni

PRINCIPAL and TEACHERS

  • Patti Crum
  • Libba Turnbull
  • Carol Barnes
  • Angie Douglas
  • Tomara Morgan and son Eric
  • Joy Moore
  • Meneca Davis
  • Deborah Horvitz

SPECIAL GUESTS and EXPERTS

  • Phoebe Lawless of the Triangle Slow Food Convivium (and who runs a stand for her bakery “Scratch” at the Farmers Market every weekend)
  • Livy Ludington (who, as a parent, started an Edible Schoolyard in Chapel Hill 21 years ago!)
  • Rebekah Resnick of SEEDS
  • Keith, Darcy and Matt of  Bountiful Backyards
  • David Stein of Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership
  • Will Jones, a DSA student who would like to help with this project in order to earn his Eagle Scout badge
  • Shirley Jones (Will’s mom)
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