There were even-happier-than-usual kids in many Kelso and Longview School Gardens last week as After School Garden Clubs had the opportunity to carve locally-grown pumpkins. 700(!) pumpkins were donated by Woodland farmer Randy Behrendsen who was happy just to know they were going home with kids. Members of the LCSG board, LCSG staff and a slew of volunteers met in Woodland early on a Saturday to load pumpkins into trucks and deliver them back to school gardens in Longview and Kelso.
During the following week, kids in elementary and middle school gardens throughout the area got the chance to carve, decorate and take home their donated pumpkins. Students also enjoyed freshly roasted pumpkins seeds and made-from-scratch hot cocoa with their pumpkin carving.
Thanks to all who attended our Fall Fundraiser. If you couldn’t come this time, donations and contributions are always welcome. Please check out our donation page.
Willapa Hills Audubon supported local school gardens in an important way in the 2014-2015 year – they sponsored a garden AmeriCorps position for $5,000! This allowed Lower Columbia School Gardens to increase our reach significantly, and connect hundreds more kids and families with real food and hands-on learning in school gardens.
Willapa Hills also partnered with Lower Columbia School Gardens on a bird-box building event in January, when 28 Monticello Middle School students learned about birds and habitat, then assembled a cedar bird box to take home. We see these kids as future advocates for a greener world because of these experiences – thank you Audubon!
Thank you for making this happen – your donations totaling $10,000 have poured in over the last few months. We will now send that to The Health Care Foundation who will in turn write a check for $20,000 to support local school gardens.
As you may know, everything we do is made possible by private donations (40%) and grants (60%). All the weekly garden and cooking programs that we design and run (serving 2900 students last year); all the sheds, fences, raised beds, irrigation lines, and trellises that we install; all the tools, microscopes, fruit trees, seeds, plants, fertilizers, soil, etc that we buy; all the harvest festivals, Earth Day, STEM events, volunteer trainings – all this is made possible by the generosity of people like you.
The success of this matching grant puts us closer to what we need to bring in this year to continue to provide and expand these services (still seeking $21,000 more in general donations and $20,000 from our Fall Harvest Event).
You’ve heard this before, but can I say it again? 5 years ago there was one school garden in these parts; today there are thirteen.
This was not a federal, state, or district initiative; rather, this was our community saying “This needs to happen. This kind of hands-on learning centered around nature and real food is not just kinda neat, it is essential. And every child deserves to have the opportunities and experiences that a school garden provides.”
Lower Columbia School Gardens formed in 2010 to answer that call, and we have been going full tilt ever since. Thank you for partnering with us every step of the way.