I do a lot of garden planning.
One of my main gigs is as a member of the leadership team at Peterson Garden Project, where we have 6 small to large community gardens. There’s micro and macro planning to do– from helping new gardeners plan a 4×8′ plot to helping our team lay out 200 plots, to planning what to grow for donations to nutrition programs and food pantries (5% of every garden is set aside for community growing and donated to various programs).
This year we’re also planning to install a seed saving garden at our flagship site; our partners on the site have already put in bee hives.
Our partners are an urban farm that has been built to help refugees from Bhutan and Burma achieve financial stability. These traditional farmers grow for themselves and for commercial sales. Beekeeping is a traditional skill for the Bhutanese farmers at Global Gardens, but will be new for those from Burma. Both groups are eager to learn how to raise bees in the United States so they can provide honey for their families and earn needed income by selling honey and beeswax products. Bees will also make Global Gardens more productive by pollinating our vegetable crops.Global Gardens farmers learn about farm and small business management so they will be able to operate their own enterprises – perhaps including a few new apiaries for Chicago.
Our seed saving garden will be a traditional row garden forming the boundary between the community garden and the farmers; another portion may form a living backdrop for a stage in the community area. All seeds will be provided by the world famous Seed Savers Exchange, and will include seeds from the private collection that are not available commercially. Seeds will be preserved and shared with other seed savers in the Chicago area. The project will include an army of volunteers to care for and learn about the plants (if you’re in Chicago you could be one of them), educational classes, and events to teach people about food heritage and seed saving.
We have a Kickstarter to help fund it, and we’re very proud that we’ve met our goal (but there’s nothing stopping us from going over it!). Watch the Peterson Garden Project Facebook page for updates. If you choose to make a pledge, post in the comments; there’s a special extra incentive just for NDiN readers– seeds if I have to mail to you, or a seedling if you’re in Chicago and can pick it up.
Let us know about your own adventures with bees and seeds!