Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WeFarm @ Orozco Academy

A couple of weeks ago, WeFarm began installation of 15 garden beds at Orozco Community Academy in Pilsen (on 18th and Damen). We began by installing 4 raised beds in the front of the school. During the following three workdays, we undertook the more arduous task of installing 11 trapezoidal raised beds on a small hill behind the school. This endeavor marks the first time that WeFarm has built terraced AND trapezoidal raised beds. Impressed? The project attracted a lot of positive attention from the community and passersby during our various, sweltering work days; we even made a few friends who were impressed by our work. However, the principal at Orozco said it best: the end result was “shocking”.

Here are a few pictures to give you a glimpse of how the project developed (sorry for any sweat on the lens!)

Our first day with the kids at Orozco: Seneca asks the kids to puttheir hands and plants in during a pre-build pep talk.

Spacing out the front beds. WeFarmers and Elev8ers rummaged through the neighbors' recycling for discarded boxes. WeFarm recycles the cardboard to make a biodegradable weed barrier for the bottom of every bed.

Plantingwas definitely the kids' favorite activity: shoveling soil and pushing wheelbarrows...not so much. Here, we have some lessons in transplanting heirloom tomato and pepper varieties. It was refreshing to see such enthusiasm from these six graders.

Finished product: planted, seeded, and watered. A few marigold seeds here and there...and that rounded out Day 1.

Who's idea was it to put garden beds on an incline? Fortunately, we had a steady supply of eager students begging for us to put a shovel in their hand. Here: students are leveling out the soil, getting the bed ready for some veggies. Majority of these trapezoidal beds had a regional vegetable theme (ex: African, Asian, and Latin American).

Strategic planning/planting with a smile.

End of Day 4. All that awaits our garden is a top layer of mulch and a lot of love over the summer months.

In the coming weeks we will see the installation of a rain catchment system. Funds permitting, the school will also get an irrigation system to ensure that their new crops are well tended throughout the scorching summer. Keep your hands in the soil...

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