Growing Health & Hope

We’ve seen the last of ice and snow, and are digging in for another growing season. We’re planting greens, uncovering garlic, and are looking forward to whatever Kansas weather has in store for us.

At West Middle School we have begun the long process of spring clean up, and 9th season planning. We are always building on lessons learned from the previous year, and are full of the spring passion and energy that hopefully will carry us through to the dog days of summer.

We’ll have a boost this year after we come back from the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference that Laura and Nancy will attend in April. We’ll convene for three days with over 1,000 people from across the US who are digging in their soils, and harvesting their vegetables, as committed as we are to connecting youth to the foods they eat. We’ll come back with new ideas and recharged batteries to carry on our work.

And our work is expanding this year – beyond the schoolyard and across town. We are breaking ground on a new garden project  – Growing Food Growing Hope. This garden will be on the grounds of DCCCA First Step at Lakeview, a residential substance abuse treatment center for women and their children. Located on a large plot of ground on the south side of town we are building a garden for residents to enjoy fresh produce, the opportunity to engage in the garden as a healing space, a place of learning and skills, a place for children to dig in the dirt.

The focus of Growing Food Growing Hope represents a change and challenge for us. It will be a learning experience for us as we work with a group of people with different needs. We won’t be measuring success by number of pounds of tomatoes harvested or number of sweet potato cake samples we offer to middle schoolers. We‘ll patiently build new relationships while we coax a new garden into being and hope we can play some small role in inspiring change and wellness. We humbly and gratefully do this in partnership with DCCCA, a diverse non-profit agency that has been quietly addressing substance abuse issues in our community and state for over 40 years.

Laura Marsh