Victory Garden Foundation & Nourish in California’s East Bay

VictoryGarden2The mission of the Victory Garden Foundation is to encourage people to grow their own food at home. Founder and President Victory V. Lee incorporated Nourish into teachings at two community gardens (Oakland), two home neighborhood gardens (Newark and Oakland), and in the One Home, One Gardenâ„¢ program for a group of senior citizen apartment dwellers (Berkeley). Victory shares her experience with Nourish below.



How does Nourish fit into your larger teaching and outreach goals?

Nourish is the anchor for our nutrition and garden learning experiences. It’s the first class in our garden education series. We begin with a 45-minute session followed by a walking tour of our community garden.

We use Nourish resources to set the tone for classes presented throughout the year. Themes include “Renew Your Body and Spirit” (through healthy eating choices) and “Gardening 101.” We offer hands-on gardening experiences that develop practical skills such as sheet mulching, soil preparation, composting, garden planning and design, planting herbs and vegetables, harvesting, and food storage.

What Nourish videos and/or curriculum activities did you use?

The Nourish: Food + Community DVD was screened at one home neighborhood garden and one community garden. Discussion questions included: How do eating foods grown closer to home and eating fewer processed foods affect the health of the environment?” and “Which parts of our food story can individuals change?” To encourage inquiry and action, we chose the following handouts from the Nourish Curriculum Guide: Industrial Food System, Local Food System, Food Story Clues (Activity 1) and Nourish Action Projects — Action Plans.

How did Nourish help build new understandings and inspire action?

Nourish was instrumental in inspiring the participants to become involved in growing food in their community. It set the stage to explore the question: “Why grow your own food and share it with friends and family?” At each gathering, we heard such comments as “Wow, I didn’t know that. I’m ready to grow food for me, my family, and neighbors” and “I plan to pay more attention to the food we buy and eat.” In the case of our One Home, One Garden program, participants were inspired to grow food indoors and on their balconies. This helped nurture the bonds of community among neighbors and within the apartment building.

What did you learn from the experience?100_1166

We learned that Nourish plays a valuable role in opening a meaningful conversation about food and community. The Nourish resources provide beautiful visuals and a powerful rationale for why gardening makes sense for urban dwellers. It helps motivate the hands-on experience of growing food.

We also learned that we can give our adult participants more “homework” to extend the learning experience and start conversations at home. Moving forward, we’re interested in evaluating the effects of Nourish on individual attitudes and practices related to food.

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