Winter Garden Party!

On a beautiful sunny Saturday in early January, we held our first garden party of the Winter Quarter and it was a wild success! Over 50 participants came through the PICA garden. We started in a large circle where we munched on bagels and sipped CAN coffee while we shared about what had brought us there. Simone had us all laughing together before we got our hands in the earth.

I set up art supplies on a large picnic table for everyone to be able to decorate terra cotta pots and plant their own succulents in them to take home. We squeezed acrylic paint on to reused plastic pallets and mixed the bright colors with wet bushes. We hung out together as we painted and chatted about life. There were images of octopus and the cycles of the moon and flowers and even pictures of sheep that were painted on the pots.

I took a break and wandered into the kitchen where students were chopping up garlic and cooking up yummy goodness. Outside at the compost area, there was a girl standing ankle deep in compost with a hayfork. I peeked in the greenhouse and students were turning the earth under the planting tables. In the Foundational Roots Garden, other students were pulling up green weeds.

Back at the succulent table, a new round of painters were creating beauty to take home. When their terra cotta pots were dry, the students mixed sand and potting soil together then buried the bottom tip of their favorite succulent gently in the soil. Succulents are amazing as they are easy to propagate; many succulents can be rooted from a leaf alone, and others will root quickly from just a stem cutting. I love these plants!

At the end of the workday, there was a delectable organic lunch served. We feasted to our belly’s delight on polenta, lentil flat bread, chutney, tasty salad and roasted prickly pear cactus. As we gathered together for food, we were serenaded by the sounds of live accordion music. I felt as if I was in the movie Amelie. I noticed, on that bright Saturday, that food always seems to taste better after you have been working in the garden all morning.

I want to invite everyone to come down to PICA for our Garden Workdays. The activities are super fun and the food is delicious. They happen every Saturday from 10am to 2pm at the A-Quad at the Village. All are welcome.

Mira Michelle is the newest member on staff at the Program in Community and Agroecology. She has worked in the field of education for the past ten years, teaching in the public and alternative schools. She has worked for the Estate of Buckminster Fuller and is passionate about sustainability, food and community. She is also an active visual artist. She was the Museum Pick for the International Museum of Women and her paintings had been published in the We’Moon datebook and calendar. She is interested in the intersection of art, sustainability, and education.

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