On October 6th 2015, Planting Justice joined the boys at Camp Sweeney where we have partnered to work on the garden that we all built there together. We got the chance to spend three fun hours in the sun with participants watering, weeding, pulling out summer plants and planting fall and winter crops and bundling harvest. The boys have really taken ownership of the garden and were excited to share news of how they harvested and distributed produce to their families on visitation days throughout the summer. They also flexed their knowledge of how they take care of the garden everyday, some boys coming out in the wee hours of the morning to water...everyday :-)
A full Planting Justice crew came out, including Transform Your Yard superstars Alejandra and Julio. Also in attendance were Haleh, Anthony and Kelly. The boys report that working in the garden, growing the food, eating it and sharing it with community gave them a sense of peace and tranquility that they hadn’t experienced before. A few even talked about considering going into business growing their own food. Of course that made us feel great and contributed to the vibes of positivity and light.
We also had a chance to join in the community room for freshly made smoothies with kale harvested from the McClymonds and Fremont gardens. The recipe of the day was mango, kale, pineapple sage (also harvested from McClymonds High School garden) and banana. Some of our smoothie chat included information about how to pick good, sweet bananas that have not been sprayed (sprayed bananas tend to develop stripes as opposed to spots when they ripen) as well as why the kale is necessary...a popular conversation with most of our youth, who would rather leave the kale out of the picture. When we explain all of the benefits of organic kale (nutritional powerhouse and superfood) and other life sustaining benefits (like healthy strong nails and hair) they usually have a change of heart. This is especially the case when mango is involved. Anthony played his smoothie guessing game with the boys, challenging their palettes to locate the source of each flavor on their tongues. The day was rewarding and fun!
We will keep you posted about the work of the boys at Sweeney Camp and their garden. They are seriously considering working with us to build out another area, a much larger area that will produce crazy amounts of veggies. Hopefully some of the boys will take us up on our offer of coming to work with us in one of our several interesting departments at Planting Justice.
More to come on Camp Sweeney next month!