genHkids Seeds of Possibility
Community gardens are great connectors, connecting participants to the source of their food, neighbors to one another, parents to children and children to the earth. They can be a source of food, activity, beauty, mental health, income and respite.
genHkids plans to sow the Seeds of Possibility: a large, sustainable and beautiful garden project on Springfield's East side in full partnership with families who live around it. Community buy-in is a critical piece of our planning, and we are well positioned to create a garden that is sustained by surrounding residents. The garden will be successful if it: 1) is planned, planted, protected and harvested by the community; 2) educates, empowers and enriches those living around it; 3) is accessible to all; 4) has a spring, summer and fall harvest; 5) is planted and maintained in an ecologically-friendly manner; 6) the harvest is used in local school and church kitchens during genHkids Destination Dinner Table events, thus completing the education of families by teaching them how to use the harvest in their kitchens to provide nutritionally dense meals for their family, and; 7) is so well-received and beautiful that it encourages the expansion of this program into other areas of Springfield and surrounding communities.
genHkids has built and harvested more than a dozen school gardens with our partner school districts, some are in their 8th season. Schools benefit from genHkids experience in garden creation, funding assistance, location selection, design, building, planting, education of students, harvesting and consumption of that harvest by students. Vegetable gardens connect children with the source of their food, introduce new flavors and textures, provide physical activity, and expand math, science and reading curriculum to real world situations. genHkids Healthy Seeds program teaches children to grow their own food, provides lessons in nutrition and stewardship, and allows them to harvest and sample their labors. Research shows that children who participate in the production of their food, whether in gardens or the kitchen, are much more likely to try, and to like, those food options, and vegetable gardens are an excellent opportunity to expand young palates and instill healthy eating habits.
genHkids Seeds of Possibility Community Garden(s) will be built on the east side of Springfield, an economically depressed area that is considered a food desert. Working with the faith-based community, genHkids partner schools, St. John's Hospital, the Department of Public Health, the Boys and Girls Club and many others local concerned local organizations, we will plant the first of what will become a system hope of community-sustained gardens in that area. genHkids’ Garden Coordinator will organize and encourage these community gardens, engage participant families and educate and empower garden participants. genHkids Educators and Chefs will provide training in school kitchens on how to prepare meals from the harvest, and how to preserve surplus for the winter.
In the long-term, genHkids envisions Seeds of Possibility gardens in multiple locations throughout Sangamon County, including numerous sites on Springfield’s east side, providing participants with increased access to fresh produce, nutrition and stewardship education, skills training and strengthened neighborhood social networks.
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