Partnership strengthens community garden project

by Jared Paben

Partnership strengthens community garden project

Hannah B., an AmeriCorps member who served at Gresham High School, finished her term of service last Friday. She served through Metropolitan Family Service's BEST AmeriCorps program.

Congratulations, Hannah, and thank you for your service! Before she left, she shared a story from her term of service:

When I learned that the 100-year-old high school I work at may be getting rebuilt in the near future, I imagined tractors and trucks driving over the community garden the kids in my Service Learning Class had been talking and dreaming about. I started to think outside the box. We want this project to be long lasting and sustainable, not something that will be destroyed in a construction zone.

I approached my fellow AmeriCorps member working at an elementary school less than a mile away. I pitched her the idea of creating this community garden at her school, instead of mine. My students and I could walk to her school one day a week in the spring and help install a garden. She loves this idea, and working as a team, with two school communities behind us, we feel stronger together.

Not only will my high school students get the experience of planning a community garden and helping to install one, but by merging our after-school classes, the older students will get to act as mentors to the younger students. Both groups will benefit from this mentor/mentee relationship, while learning about where their food comes from, nutrition, and the importance of building community.

Maybe the high school students can even make their voices heard throughout the planning process of rebuilding their school by advocating for an intentional space for a garden, a garden that the elementary school students they are mentoring could eat out of one day when they call this high school theirs.

Posted on December 16, 2013 in AmeriCorps.