I recently attended the American Community Gardens Association 31st conference in Atlanta, GA, where I learned about innovative uses of community gardens. We went on Garden tours, in Atlanta. I would like to highlight two here and one from a dynamic presenter. All of the above are our Afrikan Brothers and Sisters.
The first one is PEARL ACADEMY Agriculture and Environmental Center- Where they believe "Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone"
This first garden that we toured was 5 acres of land and had an indoor classroom that looked like a house and and outdoor classroom that looked like a screened in house.
The most exciting part of Pearl's Academy to me was the fact that is was owned and operated by a dynamic Sista P who empowered her youth to actually give the tour.
Their logo is actually the fern from the Adinkra Symbols. She runs a private school there with the principals of Maat' . There was so much vibrant growth.everywhere. There was also much representing with our colors as well.
I was really interested in her growing potatoes in the beautifully painted stacked tires. She said she could grow 150 potatoes in that stack. Wow!
Nothing goes to waste, she had three compost bins , one with vegetation, one with food scraps and another with shredded paper. There was so much information she shared in our tour that was way too brief just enough to excite the natural living part of my soul. They have overnights for the youth, that teach them so many things like building greenhouses, making irrigation systems and much more. You can visit her site for more information but a place you definatly should visit. ....
The next site was TRULY LIVING WELL NATURAL URBAN FARMS owned and run by Rashid Nuri
He has six sites for his farms but this particular site is in East Pointe Atlanta, right in front of an apartment complex, it was a lot a lady gave him and he turned it in to this lush area full of organically grown food. He said one thing he can tell us about gardening is "compost,, compost, compost". He showed us his worm bin, compost bins and where he mixes the horse and elephant manure he gets from the zoo!. He talked about building the irrigation systems and how he employs like 10 people from around the way for a couple of hours a week for minimal amounts of money. There are many volunteers but it is a community garden and they have lots of opportunity to provide this organic produce to the city. Since I really am new to gardening I took lots of pictures of crops but I think I will let you name some of them ...LOL...
There were raised beds and other interesting formats. Rashid talked about companion planting like planting amaranth ( also known as callaloo in the West Indies) next to certain foods to repel potato bugs and the like.. There were Japanese basil, in raised beds
and there were rows of taro
There was so much more but here are just a few of the pictures.
You can find out more about Truly Living Well Natural Urban Farms here
In this video some urban gardeners including Bobby Wilson the President of the Atlanta Urban Gardens and Rashid Nuri.
The last but not least is the SANKOFA GARDENS founded by another dynamic Sista Leia Lewis from Shreveport, LA who brought a couple of acres and turned it into a community garden and now she is building a Green School
You can find out more about her gardens here:http://sankofavision.com/director.html