Introductions-I thought I’d do a little garden “selfie” to introduce ourselves. That’s me in the middle, Olivia, DIGG’s new Executive Director. Mike, our Farm Manager and “Garden Guru” is on the right. Loddie, on the left, is our Garden Right-Hand (Wo)Man. Sue, our Board President who works extremely hard for us, is sitting this one out (she doesn’t like having her photo taken).
In the Garden- We have been busy bees lately tilling and planting. This picture was taken last week after spending a morning away from the desk, enjoying the sunshine, and planting 122 eggplants, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Are you jealous yet? Being in the great outdoors was such a treat. The next day we planted 60 big beef and 25 yellow pear tomatoes at a different garden. Our growers are ramping things up at their gardens too. Last week they planted snap peas, tomatoes, squash, rhubarb, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, beets, and a few others.
In the office-We are hard at work in the office as well, getting started with an exciting new collaboration with The Good Samaritan Inn. If you are unfamiliar with them, take a look at their website www.goodsamaritaninn.org. They have a wonderful job skills training program called Mercy Kitchens, which trains interested individuals in the skills necessary to obtain a job in the hospitality/food service industry.
We have been in intense conversation and planning with their Executive Director, Rev. Stacey Brohard, to expand the program into more of a farm to fork operation. More specifically, we plan to work together to build gardens on both of their unused lots. One lot will be an interpretive garden and the other will be more production-based. The goal of the interpretive garden will be to really highlight innovative ideas that solve space, soil, water, and money issues by using vertical gardening techniques and as many recycled materials as possible. The goal of the production garden will be to put those techniques to the best use possible and create a model that can easily be replicated.
Through our collaboration, along with the help of D & O Construction, the Mercy Kitchens project will expand to train the jobless and disadvantaged skills in: gardening, landscaping, construction, marketing, sales, and interpretation. We expect to continue planning and grant-writing this year and get started in a more tangible way in 2015. We are so thrilled about this opportunity to show the community what can be done with just a few vacant lots. Hint- it involves jobs creation, beautification, and an increase in local & sustainably raised food!
If you are interested in getting more involved with our organization in any capacity please consider coming to one of our weekly meetings Thursdays at 1:30pm at the historic Culver House on 412 W. Prairie Decatur, IL. Or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get out and play in the dirt!