I did a week-long visit to Tucson ahead of the team visit later in the summer. During this time I shadowed members of the Community and School Garden Program at multiple sites (elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as amazing community-run gardens, and the classes at the University of Arizona). I found the visit utterly inspiring, and I was genuinely moved to see the enthusiasm, care, and hope among all the participants. And while it’s overwhelming to see all the different elements of the program after 10 years, I think there are lots of tips and ideas for small programs we can adopt back at Glasgow. The spaces the young people were dwelling and gardening in had such a transformative effect on their wellbeing–and it’s this aspect that will always stay with me, and motivate me.
Victoria, Ruth, and myself head to the garden centre and hardware supplies for more supplies. We have lots of discussion about the future and practicalities of the garden (it’s great to work with such an enthusiastic team). Back in the garden, Boclair pupils help get the soil and initial infrastructure set-up. I think I would best describe this process as managed chaos–and so much fun! The weather holds for us
Today I delivered all the veggies from my office to the school garden at Boclair. The pupils are fantastic at helping moving the stuff and getting stuff in the raised beds. I finally get to meet the amazing Ruth, and together with Victoria, we have a meeting about the future direction of the garden.
Across April, a lot of the veggies that were planted start to shoot (and some to bolt!). The rate of growth for peas takes me by surprise 🙂
I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised when life first emerged from the compost. As someone who was, and is, a novice, I felt an immense set of satisfaction seeing those green shoots reach toward the sun. It was also easy to do – and once you get your hands dirty, the confidence stays with you.
Today Cheryl and myself headed to a nearby garden centre to acquire initial growing supplies. My plan, given the wintry conditions, was always to start a few key vegetables from the warmth of my own office! We also wanted to pick crops that would be hardy enough for uncertain growing conditions.
Today I met again with Victoria to discuss the future of the garden, and we also met with the Head Teacher who signed off on the project. I also brought fourth year geographers with me, who were doing their “Beyond the Academy Project” on Boclair Academy’s school garden. Their project was amazing (all fourth-year geographers do an outreach-based project), and they spent weeks researching and designing the best practices for a community-facing school garden. You’ll see the poster they designed below – “Growing Green Futures.” Thanks to my amazing students, who ended up getting a well-deserved A for their project!
The first proper day of the project begins (funding from BA started on the 31st)! I met with Victoria (one of the geography teachers) and Cheryl at Boclair Academy to discuss the main objectives of the research and our next steps together. We talk (or rather, dream!) about the future of the garden and evaluate the existing site. It’s a very cold and frosty day, and its tricky to see how these few raised beds (or “boxes” as I call them in the video [I had much to learn]) can act as a hub for outdoor learning and student community.