Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FHHS students Parker, Cody,  and Ryan with co-mentor Marion Melville, and deputy administrator David Kelly after the students presented their request for permission to site their greenhouse at the Land & Sea Community Garden site. After hearing from the boys and County Administrator Pete Rose, the council voted 5-0 in favor of their request. This team of students are in FHHS teacher Jenny Wilson's Community Projects class, and were mentored by Land & Sea mentors Scott Fitzstephens, Marion Melville, and Linda Degnan Cobos.  Photo: Linda Degnan Cobos.
Above: the boys outside the county council office, with one of their 3 mentors, the very kind and wonderful Marion Melville and deputy administrator David Kelly, a really nice guy. Everybody looks so happy! Pete Rose, our County's administrator - also a really nice, thoughtful man - and David Kelly, Debbie Emery (who has given another group of students doing a trails project for Community Service help, by letting them know the pathways everyone uses, as she observes students and others passing below her office window daily as she works), and everyone in the county administration was so helpful and supportive to these guys, even in the middle of all the other hard work they do every day.  Maureen See and Ingrid Carlson were also so encouraging to the boys and gave them great technical guidance to prepare for their presentation, and yesterday the Council members had great questions, and seemed to like what the boys put together a lot. After a short, thoughtful discussion, they voted all in favor.
Now the boys go to finish their contract for the grant.
These guys are accomplishing a lot, and thanks to all these wonderful people, they're getting a great education on the way.
Ian posted a story on the boys and their project on the SJ Update, and a generous islander this week sent Land & Sea a donation to the boys, to go towards the costs to maintain the greenhouse.
The boys went to Islanders Bank and opened a special account for the greenhouse with that money -  Brenna at Islanders helped us on that, and also gave the guys a lot of background info on the process, and encouragement.

All those kids in Jenny Wilson's Community Projects class are so great, and she does a great job guiding them. They are all so motivated, it's inspiring to see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Community Garden on Blair and Second - last year's crops.

The three boys from Jenny Wilson's high school Community Service class - Cody, Parker, and Ryan - working on building a community greenhouse, hope to site it on this educational garden property. The boys are also putting together a plan b and c in the event this site doesn't work out; for other possible places to use as an alternate set up site, or as places for temporary storage if the greenhouse is sited here, but needs to be moved at a later date to accommodate the county's plans for the property.

The boys' aim, as they explain it, is to grow greens for the school lunch program in their greenhouse, and make it sustainable by recruiting underclassmen each year to carry oversight of the greenhouse on, and to use the income from the greens to pay for supplies and maintenance. They decided this garden site they're hoping for is a pretty great spot for this use.

Heritage pear trees and the garden field . Maybe there will be a pretty little greenhouse out here, too!

What has happened so far:  Land & Sea mentors Scott and Linda visited the Community Services class and talked about the community garden. These three students came up with the greenhouse idea for the site, then worked with Scott on getting a grant to fund the purchase. The agreement the chapter has for use of the property would have to be expanded to allow the boys to site their greenhouse. Scott, Linda and Marion of Land & Sea, as the contractor, checked with the county to see if that might be possible, and got a positive response. In the meantime, thanks to the boys' and mentor Scott's hard work and the work of another greenhouse student years before, the boys were approved for a grant. Now the three boys are working to get on the County Council's agenda to see if final approval from the County Council members is possible.

Some history: The opportunity for the boys to get this far in this project was also made possible by the work of another Community Service class student a few years back who also was successful in getting funding to build a community greenhouse. That greenhouse was not built due to the difficulty of finding a property owner willing to site the project; the difficulty most times due to liability and related issues. The schools, fairgrounds, and other properties became not possible then for those reasons. His initial work, and the foundation holding the grant, helped make Parker, Ryan and Cody's new project possible.

Cody, Ryan, and Parker's project would be under their supervision, under the auspices of Land & Sea Slow Food chapter, so that if sited on the property on Blair and Second it would become part of our county agreement, if approved, and included in our insurance coverage. Land & Sea chapter would be willing to take ownership of the greenhouse in order to make this project possible, with the express intent to turn ownership over to the school or county if ever that is possible or desired by the school or county, and to make the greenhouse completely available for use by the school and community until that time comes. Any other ideas for ownership of the greenhouse will be welcomed;  Land & Sea's whole interest in this project is in making it possible. - Any one willing to take on ownership and responsibility in our place so this greenhouse can happen in a timely manner will be welcomed!

The greenhouse the boys chose is able to be moved, in case the time should come that the county would need the property for other uses.
These kids are really amazing, and so motivated! They worked on this individually and as a group all through the break to get their project ready to present.

A separate bank account within our non profit chapter would be opened, would be overseen by the kids who run the project, and would be devoted simply to the greenhouse. Any money coming in through Land & Sea to the greenhouse project will go into this account and then directly back to the greenhouse.
(See info at bottom of post about our main account).

Ryan, Parker and Cody are making plans for presentations to the FH Town and SJ County Councils, and will be doing a number of presentations to the public about their project.
We wish them the best with their project. They're amazing boys doing something a lot of people in our county are really excited about! Great job Guys!

[Land & Sea chapter's policy on financial donations: Donations go to our account at Islander's Bank. Any and all money that comes in goes directly back out into the community. Although we've rarely actively sought donations, donations offered to us have funded an irrigation system, our insurance coverage for the garden, and a small one-time stipend for our Community Projects/garden manager mentor this season.
Also funded: scholarships to the Quillisascut teaching farm, for 4 local young people so far. These scholarships are ongoing, and especially targeted toward local high school students and graduates, and have been provided by two generous local donors. The experiences the Quillisascut opportunity has provided for kids from our community has been called life changing by the participants. We actively seek young people who have been through Andy and Liz's Food For Thought Chef program. The first student we sent to Quillisascut  2 summers ago was a high school student in our Slow Food Youth program we had placed as an intern with Quail Croft Cheese here on the island. Her scholarship was provided by an  island resident who's also allowed us space in her greenhouse on the west side to grow starts in this spring.
Donations from a local working couple will also help fund a farm work internship program for young students, now in the works.]

A reminder of the lovely harvest from last year's first garden.

Garlic in the garden. We're not using the irrigation system at this point - there is plenty of water still falling as rain!

Here's the crowd that braved the chilly weather for the workshop pruning older trees, a couple Sundays ago.  We had close to 30 participants sign up! That was fun!
the cutting hook tool thing - it's the wonderful tree pruning apparatus!

An older pruning tool. The tree pruner likes these even better than the modern metal ones  available these days - the older wood ones are lighter and work really well. These were purchased in Eastern WA.

Up in the tree on a fruit picking ladder. A set of steps, one leg for support - a nice design that gets you in close up high.

Conservative pruning on older trees that haven't been pruned for a while - map out the pruning over a couple year's time in this situation was the advice given by this particular tree pruner.

The chill was actually good for tree pruning, the tree would find the trimming less stressful because of it.

And a couple of the pears a few weeks later, now showing more signs of buds and leaves.

Here's one of the apples after pruning.