The garden box project was started as a food security initiative for the elders in response to COVID-19, which had an impact on the delivery of food and supplies to our area. I first started off as a volunteer with 4 others, and three weeks later I was hired to manage the boxes. Janine Johnny, Michelle Alfred, Donna Hunt-Cranmer and Chalane Hayward and I started growing the starter plants that were later grown in homes and greenhouses.
Sherry Moon organized getting the equipment and got a team to build the garden boxes. Steven Smith, Steven Alfred, Keith Dawson, Jacob Dawson, Dallas Nelson and Jonah Johnson built 120 boxes. They placed them at homes and filled them with fertile soil, and then we placed the starter plants into the garden boxes.
There were also 6 students – Karrisa Glendale, Adrienne Dawson, Danya Harris, Gwimolas Hunt-Cranmer, Giselle Alfred, and Effrey Sedgemore – who were hired to help with the garden project. We would weed, water, prune and replace dying plants with new plants. About 30% to 40% of the boxes were self-managed by family members of the elders. There was an abundance of plants, so some families would hand off the food to other families.
Altogether, this project fed 200 families.
Once a week the students would do in-house cooking with the food that came from the gardens. We were able to make soups, smoothie pods, waffles and recipes that include beets and other food we grew.
My goal for 2021 is to have more garden boxes, be more prepared and organized and to meet people’s needs of what they want to grow and eat.