Things get WILD at the Danny Woo Community Gardens

Siena Ezekiel and Vania Chan in the Children's Garden

Siena (left) the Volunteer Coordinator and Vania (right) the Youth Garden Educator at the Danny Woo Community Gardens

Spring gardening is just around the corner, so we are excited to share an update from our two Apple Corps Members over at the Danny Woo Community Gardens.  Youth garden education is just one way that the Apple Corps Program reaches out to the community to education and empower children and families to make healthy eating choices. Enjoy this update from Siena and Vania!

Greetings from Siena and Vania! We are the Apple Corps members serving at the Danny Woo Community Garden site located in the culturally rich and vibrant International District of Seattle. While our initial plunge into service in the fall felt like a hard sprint into our Children’s Garden programs with Bailey Gatzert Elementary School and Denise Louie Education Center, for winter, we’ve mostly retreated indoors. Lately we’ve been occupied with planning for spring classes, researching and writing grants to fund our programs, and learning about how to better care for the varieties of apple, Asian pear, and pear trees in the garden.

Despite the current season not being favorable for growing plants or being outside, we have had the pleasure and excitement of developing and leading a new, lively initiative with Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development (WILD) youth program that runs through our shared parent organization, InterIm Community Development Association (InterIm CDA). Over February and March, we are hosting a series of five workshops geared around food & sustainability. The content and structure are centered on stimulating thought and shared discussion over the hub theme of food origins, which is connected to spokes such as personal and cultural ties and elaborations, ecological considerations, economy, migration, social transformation and evolution. Much of this is accomplished through hands-on and culinary activities—yum! Good for our energy and cerebral needs!

In the two sessions we’ve hosted so far, we’ve prepared an “Asian” Quinoa Salad as well as Glutinous Rice Balls with Peanut Filling. “Asian” Quinoa Salad was a dish that was surprisingly tasty for the teens and gave grounds for discussion about the authenticity of “fusion” food as well as how cultures evolve through sharing and the process of migration. Glutinous Rice Balls with Peanut Filling was a dish that was suggested and led by one of the elder gardeners from Danny Woo Community Garden named Ms. Chen—she graciously partners with us in our youth and children’s programs to share her knowledge and experience. By working alongside the youth, she was able to casually speak about the social and health benefits she has personally reaped from gardening at the Danny Woo Community Garden for the past five years! Ms. Chen also revealed a bit of background about her life before her immigration where she was a doctor in China. This partnership fulfills one of the main goals of the Danny Woo Children’s Garden—which is to form an intergenerational bridge between the experienced elder gardeners and the urban youth who are living and/or going to school in the neighborhoods surrounding the garden.

We really appreciate Ms. Chen’s dedication, knowledge, and energetic and endearing spirit among the youth and children.  We’re looking forward to the upcoming weeks when we will have more chances to become familiar with the WILD youth through the workshops.  We’ve planned activities such as a sensory tour of the garden (we’re waiting for a dry day!) and talking about the benefits of micro-organisms that help make compost, soil, and delightful foods such as kimchi.  Keep checking in with us to know what’s up in the Danny Woo Community Garden!

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