It’s cold and the New Year has barely started, but the gardening world is already thinking about Spring.
NYC Foodscape invites you to a great event benefitting a new organization called Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops for Children. Garden Stories creates interactive workshops for children in underserved neighborhoods that use storytelling to support the development of their life stories, and empower children to develop their self-confidence and improve communication skills.
Garden Stories draws inspiration from community gardens. They provide examples of how neighborhood leaders improved the quality of life in their communities by transforming abandoned lots into vibrant gardens. NYC Foodscape is thrilled to be part of the team that includes master storytellers, gardeners and local community members, to bring these workshops to kids.
Storytelling helps support the kid’s individual and group communications. Using journal and group activities, the kids learn how to share ideas with others, collaborate and listen and view themselves as part of a community and even future leaders. The gardening reminds them that gardens are more than plants. Using this multimedia approach, the kids not only get hands on experience in the garden, and learn about the food, cultural and environmental aspects of gardening, but also about giving back to the community by sharing what they’ve learned through their storytelling and about becoming accountable to a larger community for the long-term wellbeing of everyone.
Garden Stories Pilots in Fall 2015 at Children’s Garden at Campos
Holly O’Grady founded Garden Stories in the summer of 2015, recruiting NYC Foodscape early on to help develop some of the gardening programming and approaches. Children’s Garden at Campos hosted a couple of early pilot programs in the fall, one with teens from the University Settlement‘s Cornerstone Community Center at Campos Plaza, and another with the Boys Club of New York.
Here are the highlights and some photos from the first pilot with Cornerstone:
We warmed up the program by asking the kids about their gardening experience and then told the story of how the Children’s Garden at Campos was created after Hurricane Sandy damaged Campos Community Garden. We talked about rebuilding Campos, the early beginnings of the children’s garden as a straw bale garden and what it took to become the garden it is today. By using resilience as a backdrop, the kids started to think about how persistence and experimentation work together and that no person can work alone. Community gardens depend on collaboration and teamwork, and tough times often bring out the best in all of us, making something positive out of hardship. We touched upon the idea of vision–how each gardener has their own ideas for what to grow and how to grow it. We also talked about some of the people who inspired us at the garden and who inspire the kids, who they view as leaders and why.
And then we went on a five senses tour of the garden, touching, smelling, tasting, and let the kids explore the garden on their own and pick up a few bits of inspiration along the way.
A master storyteller took over and set the stage for the kids, asking them “What is a story?” She reminded the kids that each of them has a story to tell and asked them to consider the following questions, while they created a story and a collage that captured the stories essence:
- Their vision for a garden?
- Who inspires them?
- Who is on their “team?”
- What are some challenges they might face and how would they solve those?
Children worked on their stories and shared their ideas and collage materials and about 45 minutes later, we regrouped and each child told their story of the garden.
Benefit Supports Expanded Program with Cornerstone
The Garden Stories benefit is on Wednesday February 3, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at City Lore Gallery, 56 E. 1st Street in Manhattan. Join me in supporting them and enjoy and an evening of live performances, raffles, wine and appetizers.
For event details and tickets, click here.
The benefit will raise funds to offer an extended eight-week garden storytelling workshop for children from the University Settlement’s Cornerstone Program at Campos Plaza in April. Tickets and donations are tax deductible as permitted by law though our fiscal sponsor, Art Loisaida Foundation, NY state 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
To learn more about Garden Stories: Leadership Workshops, visit its website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you there!