Enabling a New Gardening Initiative to Flourish
A Project by Emma Pettay
The project I chose to complete with this grant funding was in collaboration with the GRO initiative to grow sustainable produce in our community and come together in efforts to build knowledge and awareness of growing one’s own food. A guiding philosophy for this project was collaboration with existing community initiatives to further strengthen and build upon their established work being done. As the current president of a K-State student group called Students for Environmental Action, I chose to engage our group with this project and bring our students to the forefront of the design and growth process of the three garden beds we have located in the front lawn of ECM. In these garden beds we planted spinach, lettuce, carrots, cilantro, broccoli, and other vegetables. On planting day, we brought in our local research and extension officer, along with a knowledgeable permaculture expert, to share with us best planting practices, how often to water, and how to distinguish between plants and weeds. From this learning effort, we have been able to teach a group of 10 students how to garden and harvest edible produce.
This funding has provided an opportunity to connect our students with local, knowledgeable community members who we are then able to continue collaboration with on this project and more in the future. Gardening is a great way to get outdoors safely in the era of COVID and has provided us with a continuing project that Students for Environmental Action and the GRO initiative can meet together to do as a team.
A Project by Ethan Pinkerton
For my project I used my allotted funds to completely renovate my existing garden. I already had plans to use it again but didn’t have the means to fulfill it to its full potential. With the money I received, I was able to construct a raised bed that offers more room for plants and get extremely rich nutrients for the whole garden soil. This garden directly impacts myself, and the people I live with. Throughout this season we will have an abundant amount of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, spinach, kale, oregano, mint, green onions, garlic, potatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkins just for fun.
This experience has allowed me to turn my garden into everything I’ve wanted it to be. It’s an amazing feeling to bring a vision into reality, and I’m very excited to watch my plants grow up big and strong.
Creating an Online Native Seed-Bank
A Project by Amelia Richter
My project’s goal was to make it easier for both experienced and new gardeners to incorporate native Kansas species into their gardens and outdoor spaces. Native plant species are the base of a healthy ecosystem and provide food, shelter, and other needs to the diversity of life we share our state with. Native seeds can be hard to get a hold of and many gardeners rely on receiving native seeds from fellow gardeners. To make native seeds more available, I wanted to build on this dynamic of seed sharing in the form of a seed bank, however, I did not want to limit participation to those who could physically visit this bank, especially during the time of a pandemic, so I decided to build an online seed bank. I focused my time and resources on building this infrastructure and gathering knowledge and equipment to facilitate seed storage. I additionally gathered some seeds to start building an inventory, though this portion was secondary to building the online seed bank itself.
Through this project I learned a lot about native plants, what they are called, when they bloom, where certain species like to grow, and what special properties some poses. I also learned that I am only scratching the surface on this front.
A Community Gardening Program is Born
A Project by Patty McKenna
The retreat was very much appreciated. The funding allowed me and my household to gain experience with a gardening tool (an irrigation system) that we would otherwise not have had.
My experience with collective gardening in my yard (combined with the other-worldly experience of stay-at-home orders) started me down a fruitful path of contemplation.
What allowed me, a novice gardener, to succeed at growing food?
How could I help other people to have access to these things?
My answer was to build community support and interest in collective gardening by talking to individuals and organizations. This has resulted in several homeowners volunteering their yards and two churches (including ECM) willing for their land to be used as gardening space. A Letter of Intent has been submitted to the Caroline F Peine Foundation to pay for a set of tools, seeds, garden infrastructure, water, etc. for the gardening season of 2021.
ECM at KSU
"ECM feels safe. You sit down to a meal [at RFL] and hear so many different languages. I don't worry about not being from the US. It's home to me at K-State." -Gaby
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