“I want one of these for Mother’s Day.” So spoke Angela, a participant at the A3 Basic Gardening Class as she hefted a cordless power drill. Hands-on construction of wooden raised beds, the sowing of a container garden, and a discussion about compost techniques were just a few of the highlights of Tuesday’s A3 class. The Agency Achievement Academy (A3) offers unique classes designed to expand partner agencies’ capacity in their feeding programs. The goal of the A3 Basic Gardening Class is to increase access to fresh produce through the creation of site gardens.
Co-taught by JuJu Harris and Susan Topping, the class is part of a three part series covering the basics of site assessment and garden planning and construction. Information is also dispensed regarding local resources for free and low cost seeds and construction materials, vegetable planting schedules, and contacts for community gardening grants. Interest and energy were high as folks shared their stories regarding their recently germinated seeds and techniques they’d already applied from what they’d learned in last week’s class. Several plan to begin a gardening program with children at their sites, while others looked forward to sharing the seedlings and harvest with members of their congregations.
Those who attended the workshop at a co-worker’s urging, or who seemed initially unsure about their “green thumb” were some of the most effusive by the class’ end. Carrying pots of newly sown swiss chard, chives, and mesclun mix, the participants left with smiles on their faces, ready to share their nascent enthusiasm for gardening with staff and clients at their sites.