Fall 2018 Garden Report

2018 has been another fruitful year for us at Everybody Grows! We have continued to focus on our most successful inspiration gardens, while also developing and refining how we perform community outreach and organizing. In this report we will look back on our progress in 2018 with each of our active projects.

To stay abreast of our ongoing work please follow us on instagram and facebook. Please consider donating at everybodygrows.org/donate-today/ to support our mission to inspire and equip people to grow fresh, healthy food by bringing the home garden to everybody, wherever home may be.

ST. GABRIEL’S CATHOLIC CHURCH

Everybody Grows started a new collaboration during the Spring of 2018 with the Green Team at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest DC. The Green Team, many of whom live in the neighborhood, sought assistance from Everybody Grows in turning a vacant area behind the church into a thriving community garden for church members. With our help, more than a dozen parishioners built seven large raised bed gardens in the spring and thereafter, with a little coaching, successfully grew a variety of vegetables and herbs. With our assistance, the Green Team hopes to expand the garden in 2019 and to inspire members of their ethnically and age diverse community to grow something at their homes.

FORT STANTON RECREATION CENTER

For the second year, Everybody Grows has supported a vegetable garden at the Fort Stanton Recreation Center on Erie Street in Southeast, DC. The garden is enthusiastically led by Louis Jones, an employee of the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation, and assisted by seniors who live in the neighborhood and regularly attend programs at the recreation center. The garden successfully produced a variety of vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, potatoes, kale, chard, greens) and herbs that are primarily used by the seniors attending a lunch program at the recreation center.

Late this past summer, Everybody Grows expanded our relationship with the Fort Stanton community by holding garden-related activities for groups of younger children attending summer camp at the recreation center. These learning experiences took place both in the garden and in the classroom, where the children were exposed, some for the first time, to the joy of growing their own food. Everybody Grows hopes to establish a weekly garden learning activity with the summer camp participants in 2019, thereby expanding its commitment to this neighborhood.

SCOTLAND RECREATION CENTER

2018 marked the third year we have been working with the children and staff at Scotland Recreation Center.  The recreation center is located in a low income apartment complex in Potomac, Maryland. We have continued to work with this community every other Friday afternoon through the growing season, to tend their garden together and to foster a stronger connection to nature and to healthy, fresh food. 

We made significant improvements in the garden’s infrastructure this year. We build a third raised bed with the children. We created a durable, tall fence to protect the garden from deer. We led an art project where children painted CD’s and hung them on the fence to deter birds and beautify the space. We also mulched the paths, to suppress the grass growing around the beds and created more of a garden classroom environment.

Harvesting food for cooking projects continued to be a regular feature of our programs. We harvested basil that we turned into pesto, rainbow chard that we stir fried, greens for a salad, and steamed string beans. The garlic we harvested from this garden in the early summer was a key ingredient to many of these recipes.

This fall, we are refocusing on our nature program. We have scheduled a training for the staff on the wild plants around the center and in neighboring Cabin John Park.  This will support a half-day nature program we are leading together for the children on November 6th. We will share about wild plants, primitive skills, and practices for observing and interacting with more wild environments.

DC FIRE STATION ENGINE 26

Our partnership with DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services continued in 2018 and was centered around our garden at fire station Engine 26 at 1340 Rhode Island Ave, NE. We continued to expand our garden at this fire station in 2018, as well as growing our outreach to firefighters and the wider community. We made notable infrastructure improvements by replacing three aging beds and constructing two additional new beds, bringing the total number of garden beds to ten. This work was undertaken with us by volunteers from Sidwell Friends Middle School. The new beds and our drip irrigation system contributed to make this the most productive year of this garden. This fall we are planning to mulch all the pathways with volunteers to improve aesthetics and prevent weeds.

In order to make use of the large yield of produce, we harvested with firefighters, shared recipes, and checked in regularly on how they were using the food. We led projects indoors with them including pickling cucumbers and peppers as well as braiding garlic from the large garlic harvest this site produced.  

While the main intention of this garden in past years has been to make a meaningful contribution to improving firefighter health, we learned that the yield is often larger than the firefighters can use in any given day. We will be seeking a community partner such as a food bank in 2019 to make use of the extra food.   

The compost system has seen light usage in processing food waste from the fire station and the neighbors, and we are currently using it to process garden waste and produce compost for next year. We recently added upgraded signage that we will hope will become an invitation for more firefighters to successfully use it.

In early October we worked with Edmund Burke Middle School to clear the summer crops and are in the process of planting winter vegetables in beds and winterizing others with cover crops.

 

7/1/18 Garlic Harvest Volunteer Event at Engine 26

Everybody Grows is pleased to host an open volunteer event this Sunday, July 1st at 5:00 PM to help us harvest our over 200 garlic plants and replant beds with summer vegetables.   All volunteers will get to take fresh garlic home to enjoy.

Event details

Location:  1340 Rhode Island Avenue Northeast DC 20018

Timing:  5:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Wear comfortable work clothes.  Bring sun protection and a water bottle.

See you Sunday!

Volunteer Days May 19th and 20th at St. Gabriel's Church

All of us at Everybody Grows are excited to be working with a new community, St. Gabriel’s Church in Petworth, to create a large edible garden together in their backyard.   We will be holding two large volunteer build days to prepare the site and construct and fill the raised beds.   The details for both days are listed below.

Please reach out to Steve@everybodygrows.org to RSVP and if you have any questions.  See you there!

Location:  26 Grant Cir NW, Washington, DC 20011

Times:  Saturday May 19th from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM                                                           Sunday May 20th from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Note:  Please wear comfortable work clothes and closed toed shoes.  We recommend bringing a refillable water bottle and any sun protection you require.

Everybody Grows 2017 End of Year Report

Everybody Grows 2017 End of Year Report

2017 was a year of significant progress for Everybody Grows. We expanded our reach by helping a group of neighbors living on 31st Street NE to start and maintain their own personal vegetable gardens. We significantly increased the learning opportunities for the children in the Scotland community through our Scotland Recreation Center garden program. We established new gardens at both the Fort Stanton Recreation Center and Dorothy Day Place.  Through our successful partnership with DC Fire and EMS, we taught gardening skills to numerous volunteers, and demonstrated how to grow and eat a variety of fresh produce throughout the spring, summer and fall.

With your assistance, we hope to continue our success in 2018.  If you feel inspired to donate to support our work, please click here.

We invite you to read this brief report on each of our activities in 2017 below.

1. Individual Gardens

It has long been our goal to connect our knowledge of gardening with individuals interested in growing something to eat for themselves. Through our friendship with Janie Boyd, a long term food advocate in DC, we were able to help individuals living on 31st Street NE, to plant and maintain their own personal gardens. These individuals grew tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs for their own personal consumption, and ornamental flowers that beautified their yards. There is a high demand for gardens. We are raising funds and hope to expand our presence in this neighborhood in 2018.

Community organizers Janie Boyd and Brad Ogilvie have been instrumental in developing the backyard garden program with us

2. Scotland Recreation Center

2017 marked our second year of programming at the Scotland Recreation Center, located in the Scotland subsidized housing community in Montgomery County, Maryland. Our first year was supported by a grant from the Whole Foods’ Whole Kids Foundation. Our activities complement a dynamic after school program at the center that takes place mostly indoors.

Cooking the produce we grew was an important part of the Scotland Program

Steve shares his 30 years of gardening experience with children at Scotland

This fall, we continued gardening with the children and also added the new elements of nature awareness and woods exploration, with great success. We had a long growing season due to a warm early fall, and were able to continue harvesting peppers, tomatoes, marigolds, and squash into November. The children especially loved finding the giant squash hidden among its leaves, tasting the hot peppers, watering the garden, and picking flowers to decorate the community center. We also taught some awareness games to play by the garden, and brought the “nature museum” – a box with bones, antlers, feathers, and other cool nature objects – which was a huge hit. Once the plants began to die back for the winter, we pulled everything out together and planted garlic in one bed and cover crops in the other. The children were able to see and experience a full cycle of the garden.

Everybody Grows works with naturalists Andrew Shofer and Tori Heller on the nature program for Scotland. They are constantly finding new wonders and projects that amaze and inspire the children.

We also created a space in the woods behind the community center for nature programs. Over the course of several weeks, Everybody Grows staff cleared a circle in the forest. We cut down trees, built a rock fire pit, and raked a path with the kids. Every time we showed up at Scotland, they were so excited to go into the woods. Once gardening was done for the season, we journeyed back to our circle and began building a shelter, climbed trees, and wove a grass mat together to go inside of a shelter. We also demonstrated fire-by-friction, and let the children have a try on a bow drill kit. It was amazing to see them so excited to get their hands dirty and engage with the natural world.

Our first group trip down to Cabin John stream at Scotland. Many of the children had never made the short walk down to this beautiful area, which made this even more special.

With the help of a generous donation from Christopher and Lauren Mead, who introduced Everybody Grows to Scotland, we will continue growing edibles and exploring nature with our Scotland gardeners in 2018.

3. Fort Stanton Recreation Center

We began our work in the Fort Stanton community by gardening with the Ladies Auxiliary at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. Unable to sustain that garden in 2017, we ventured down the street to the Fort Stanton Recreation Center, where Mr. Louis Jones, who runs a variety of programs for the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), was interested in reviving a defunct garden. Everybody Grows, with the help of volunteers, cleared the site that was overgrown with weeds, and enriched the soil with Bloom, a soil amendment produced, and offered free-of-charge, by the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant. The garden was a tremendous success. It provided hundreds of pounds of produce for use by community members attending learning and health-related programs at the recreation center. We hope not only to repeat our success in 2018, but to involve many more people who use the services provided by the center.

The garden at Fort Stanton was highly productive this year thanks to the efforts of the recreation center director and the local senior community.

4. Dorothy Day Place

Dorothy Day Place is a single adult transitional shelter that functions as a crucial bridge between homelessness and permanent housing for both men and women. In 2017, Everybody Grows planted a vegetable garden in eight large garden pouches located just outside the front door of the Dorothy Day Place building on Marinelli Road in Rockville, Md. We were not sure who would actually benefit from the lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and variety of herbs that we planted – the geese nesting nearby, the pedestrians walking up the street, or the residents (or all of the above). As it turns out, with the help of several residents including one experienced gardener, the garden thrived and the residents were able to supplement their diet with food they grew for themselves. Everybody Grows plans to double the size of the garden and to expand the variety of produce grown in 2018.

Staff and residents helped tend the new garden with us at Dorothy Day Place

5. The DC Fire and EMS partnership

We had our biggest harvest ever this year at E26

We continued our fruitful partnership with DC Fire and Emergency Services (DCFEMS) by focusing on our largest fire station inspiration garden at Engine House 26 (E26). In 2017 at E26, we expanded food production, worked with a diverse set of volunteer groups, and started an onsite compost cooperative in partnership with DC Parks and Recreation. We began the year by constructing, filling, and planting three new raised beds with volunteer groups from Howard University and Sidwell Friends Middle School. Everybody Grows staff installed a new irrigation system that watered all eight beds automatically. The garden was highly productive, yielding an abundance of sweet potatoes, okra, tomatoes, greens, cucumbers, strawberries, culinary herbs, and other crops that we harvested with the firefighters, children from the neighborhood, and volunteer groups including the DCJCC. The produce was consumed primarily by the firefighters at E26 as part of our efforts to improve firefighter health, with portions of the yield also returned to volunteers and community groups. Our new compost system and cooperative began operation, with firefighters and a handful of engaged community members adding food and garden waste to the bin in order to grow soil for next year’s garden.

 

Fire Station First Aid Garden Workshop

Using Herbs for First Aid
Cuts? Scrapes? Colds? Fevers? Upset stomach? Discover the ways that medicinal herbs can be your garden first-aid kit. What better place to learn these skills than at the Everybody Grows fire station farm surrounded by EMTs and firefighters? Participants will become familiar with several easy-to-grow herbs and how to use them as teas, compresses, poultices, and salves. You’ll bring home recipes for medicine-making, and a healing salve.
What to bring?
– a notebook and pen or pencil if you’d like to take notes
– a sturdy cup or mug for sipping herbal tea
– comfortable shoes, and clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty or oily
– bug spray, sunscreen, and water

Cost for the workshop is 30 dollars, and includes a jar of a healing salve that we will prepare together. No one will be turned away based on a lack of funds, but space is limited, so reserve a spot by donating at  http://everybodygrows.org/donate-today/.

Email Jake@everybodygrows.org with any questions about the workshop.


1:30 “pre-game” – outside in the garden
Come early to join Everybody Grows and Leafyhead staff as we plant the Firehouse medicinal herb garden.

2:00-3:10 – outside in the garden; shade structure provided
Meet the medicinal herbs, discover how and why herbs work to support the body, and learn techniques to harvest and dry your herbs for future use.

3:30-5:00 – come inside the Firehouse kitchen for hands-on demos of herbal infusions, compresses, poultices, infused oils, and salves.

BIO:

Tricia McCauley is an herbalist, nutritionist, and yoga teacher. She holds a master’s degree in herbal medicine from the Tai Sophia Institute (now the Maryland University of Integrative Health), where she taught herbal preparations for two years and is currently a supervisor in the integrative nutrition masters’ program student clinic. She also attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and is a certified health coach, Certified Nutrition Specialist, a Licensed Nutritionist, and a yoga teacher at the E-RYT-200 level. Based in Washington, DC, she’s been the resident herbalist at Common Good City Farm for 7 seasons, and is the owner of two herbal product lines: Leafyhead Lotions & Potions and District Devil.

She specializes in food sensitivities, stress management, to connecting people to the cycles of the earth and the cycles of their bodies, and to empowering her students to find creative solutions to improving health and happiness. Tricia is also passionate about growing things, making things, dancing, biking around the city, being near water, curry, sunshine, bare feet, red wine, laughing too loudly, and smiling at strangers.

Everybody Grows May 2016 Planting Days

Come out and get your hands dirty at four Everybody Grows planting events in May!  Our fire station planting events will both begin at Engine 26 at 1340 Rhode Island Avenue Northeast DC.  Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home is located at 1818 Newton Street Northwest DC.

Volunteers will be helping with the hands-on work of planting a garden.  We will share information about soil health, companion planting and rotational strategies as we work.

Please email Jake@everybodygrows.org and Jonny@everybodygrows.org to let us know if you will make it  or if you have any questions.  See you in the garden!

Schedule:

All events start at 2 PM.

Tuesday May 10th: Stoddard Nursing Home First Planting Day

Saturday  May 14th: Planting day at Engine 26 and one other station

Sunday May 22nd: Planting day at Engine 26 and two other stations

 Monday May 23rd: Stoddard Nursing Home Second Planting Day

Volunteer Training Event

All gardens benefit from watchful, caring gardeners.  Our inspiration gardens are no exception.  When I visited all of them recently, I was reminded that the more caretakers each of our gardens has, the more it will flourish and provide a great experience for everyone.   It is in this spirit that we have created a program to help volunteers grow their urban agriculture skills in order to support our gardens and the people that live with them everyday.

Everybody Grows  is happy to announce we will be holding a volunteer training event to brief both experienced and new volunteers on the skills and routines we use to maintain our inspiration gardens.  We will go over harvesting, transplanting, and pruning techniques in order to prepare volunteers to work in our gardens.   The event will be Sunday July 12th at 2 PM at Engine 26, 1340 Rhode Island Ave, NE.

Please email jake@everybodygrows.org to RSVP if you will be attending.  We will keep you updated on future volunteer training events through our website and social media.

Fire Station Planting Events Spring 2015

It was our great pleasure to once again organize and participate in the planting of five inspiration gardens at fire stations across Washington DC.   Before I go into the details of this year’s planting events, I want to first describe the value and purpose of these inspiration gardens.   Everybody Grows has partnered with DC Fire and EMS for the past two years to create inspiration gardens that serve important and connected goals. The fire station gardens are an opportunity for the firefighters and surrounding communities to come together and share the joy of growing their own food.  The healthy food the gardens produce benefit the health of firefighters and their neighbors.  Gardening can also have a therapeutic effect for firefighters who perform a demanding and essential job.  For Everybody Grows, inspiration gardens are an important way to connect with new gardeners, and the fire station gardens are a highly visible and inviting examples of this part of our work.Engine-30-1

This spring, the fire station planting events were spread out over two Saturdays.  The first three events occurred on April 25, and the last two were on May 2nd.  The gardeners that helped us at each site included firefighters, community members, and volunteers from our networks.   Each of these groups enjoyed meeting one another and talking about gardening.  We planted a range of seedlings and seeds in response to requests from neighbors and firefighter.  We also take into account what we know works well in our climate and in raised bed gardens.Engine-6-2 At Engine 6, I had an interesting conversation with a firefighter from the station named Sgt. Robs, who is already a gardener and is growing a large garden at his home.  He shared positive feedback on our inspiration gardens, saying “I think that this is a great idea. I think a lot people were inspired this year to garden.  It is a lot easier than it sounds, but it can be intimidating.”  This is a message that we hope all our work is sending, which is that gardening is easy and accessible.

Ms. Brenda, a friend of Everybody Grows and neighbor to the garden, organized an especially strong turnout from the neighborhood at Engine 32.   An experienced gardener, she also helped us direct the volunteers and plan the layout of garden.  It is always very helpful for us to have such an enthusiastic and supportive person help us with one of our gardens.  She not only helps ensure this garden’s success, but she also helps with our outreach efforts by connecting us to interested community members.Engine-6-4

While we were in the middle of planting at Engine 15, two children from the neighborhood stopped by and helped us plant one of the beds.  They knew what they were doing, and said they had “planted at school.”  The green movement in DC has a strong presence in schools and education, and it is great to connect this fantastic learning and work to our inspiration gardens.Engine-15-2We are looking forward to returning to the fire stations to share harvest and cooking techniques.  Keep an eye on our website, Facebook, and Twitter for information about these events and for updates on the progress of these gardens.

 

First Nursing Home Planting Event

On May 14th, Everybody Grows planted our first nursing home inspiration garden with the residents and staff at Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home.   We had a great turnout and participation from many who live and work at the home.  We all worked together and got our hands dirty planting in the ten of the raised beds that live on a beautiful patio area that runs alongside the home

.Gardens-Everybody-Grows-Stoddard-Baptist-Home-03

Ms. Farley planted the very first plants, a row of sweet peppers.  Mr. Goldring was a gardening machine, and once he got going, he did not stop until he had filled nearly two of the beds with edible plants.  Ms. Nelson was particularly drawn to the Thai basil, and she planted it in a prominent spot so she could come back and check on it.Gardens-Everybody-Grows-Stoddard-Baptist-Home-04

 

Part of the joy of the planting event was spending time together.  Our planting events are always as much about meeting new people and building community as much as they are about getting plants in the ground.  Volunteers, staff, and residents sat under umbrellas and drank lemonade, talked gardening, and looked over seedlings before planting them.

stoddard juice

We are looking forward to seeing my new friends at the nursing home again very soon.