Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ravina Park Unity Garden
ravina park
All of the Unity Gardens differ in their framework, and their size, yet some things remain the same. Today, at the Ravina Park Unity Garden (1511 Dale St) I was struck by the similar community building evolving in this garden.
The Ravina Park Project is much more than a garden program. The United Religious Community, the Neighborhood Resource Center, and many neighbors have joined Unity Gardens in creating a kids program designed to "grow" community in this neighborhood. We have a Unity Garden, there, but we also have a craft program, activities, adult supervision, and lunch/ snacks.stories, and more.

Every Weds from 2pm to 6pm and every Saturday from 11am to 3pm area kids come to play, eat, and enjoy. On Saturdays we host a garden activity at 12:30pm to teach the kids there about gardening and eating from the garden.

On July 9th we enjoyed harvesting and eating radishes, mustard greens, and green onions. Just like at the other gardens, it is delightful to watch as the kids light up realizing they can try things straight form the garden! They are often hesitant until I remind them; if you don't like it, spit it right out! I think they often enjoy the spitting as much as the tasting!

We also planted pumpkins, zucchini, summer squash and cucumber in large colorful pots. The kids and adults learned how to re-use empty water bottles to create a drainage system, cover them with dirt, then plant seeds.

What then happened prior to and after the kids planned activities reminded me of how "we are growing more than vegetables here" throughout our community. One volunteer came by to see what we were doing as he had heard about the Ravina Park project in a meeting in Elkhart. Another neighbor walked by, and I invited her to harvest some mustard greens. She said, "Really?" and was so excited as I taught her how. Two others came by to see what was growing, and discovered there was another Unity Garden right where they lived! We even enjoyed a visit from a Tribune reporter who still wasn't clear on the sharing part. It is often the most challenging aspect of the gardens; teaching people it is safe and works to share! Thanks to all who help continue to "grow" community here!

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