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Doing Good Together Newsletter )
Helping strengthen kids and communities through family volunteerism... April 2008
in this issue
  • Community Garden Perks
  • Dig and Delve into Horticulture
  • Fact and Inspiration
  • One Family's Story-Nurturing a Healthy Planet, One Carrot at a Time!
  • News From DGT

  • A community garden might be just the thing for that empty lot in your neighborhood, or that big patch of weeds near your church or school. These gardens produce a bounty of benefits: healthy food (or flowers!), help for the family food budget, a prettier neighborhood, and lessons in self-reliance, among others. Primarily, a community garden gathers folks together to plant, nurture and harvest the garden. Read below to find out how your family can begin a community garden this spring. Happy planting!



    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

    Community Garden Perks
    American Community Gardening Association

    Make a Difference...
    Community gardens can have advantages you wouldn't even consider, like conserving resources and reducing city heat. Though they require some planning (does the site get enough sun? is there a convenient water supply?), they can also set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating habits in your children. Read the 10 steps for getting started from the American Community Gardening Association. This group also offers tips for organizing the garden, establishing guidelines, creating signage-even how to make your community garden child-friendly.

    Photo: American Community Gardening Association

    Dig and Delve into Horticulture
    Girl with shovel

    Talk About It...
    Gardening can involve the community or a simple plot (or flowerpot) in your backyard. It provides an outdoor alternative to computer games and the satisfaction of watching something grow. To get your children engaged, read the " Parents' Primer" at kidsgardening.org. You'll learn that many outdoor settings can be ripe for "growing a gardener."
    Some ideas:

  • Keep your expectations age-appropriate, and keep in mind your child's temperament and interests. Early on, they will relish the digging and plopping in seeds; later they can help make plant markers and calculate the distance needed between plants.
  • Let kids help choose what to plant, relax your standards for perfectly straight rows, and leave plenty of time for worm hunting.
  • If the garden design happens to include a cave for an action figure, so much the better!
  • Celebrate your child's contribution by taking photos, collecting and pressing leaves, keeping a scrapbook and drawing pictures.
  • Take advantage of "gardening moments" to discuss things like plant life cycles or the concept of beneficial bugs.
  • Learn About It...
    Read how a little girl and her community turn a vacant lot into a lush garden in DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan's City Green. Even the irascible Old Man Hammer eventually makes a contribution, and discovers he can change his ways.

    Photo: kidsgardening.org

    Fact and Inspiration

    "The simple act of planting a garden can create positive environmental, economic, and social impacts on a neighborhood. Community gardens foster cultural understanding and an awareness of the environment around us."

    Urban Community Gardens

    One Family's Story-Nurturing a Healthy Planet, One Carrot at a Time!
    Donni, Nubia, & Rain Miller

    When Donni Miller's daughter Nubia was just a toddler, Miller arranged to volunteer with her at the Youth Farm and Market Project. This Minneapolis organization promotes urban organic agriculture, youth organizing and traditional cultural nutrition. Also appealing to Miller was the focus on helping kids make the connection between growing healthy food and eating it.

    Now that Nubia is three, it's become a regular routine. Each week during the growing season, the family troops across the street to the garden, where they meet school kids also hard at work learning what's involved in growing organic produce. They water, weed and harvest. Nubia relishes her important role as a community gardener-and has learned a great deal about plants, besides. By age two she could identify basil, tomato and carrot plants by sight.

    Photo: Donni, Nubia, & Rain Miller

    Read Full Story

    News From DGT
    National Service Learning Conference

    Doing Good Together's Family Service Night project has been selected for display at the National Service Learning Conference in Minneapolis this month. We are one of just 50 organizations chosen-one from each state! It is an opportunity to showcase our work and inspire others to start similar projects.

    If you live in the Twin Cities, sign up for our free monthly family volunteer listing. DGT canvases the Twin Cities to compile a listing of clever and creative family volunteer projects. The list is ideal for families seeking either one-time or ongoing volunteer projects. Click here, enter your e-mail address, and hit "send."

    Photo: National Service Learning Conference

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