Over the weekend our very own garden helping hand, Marcy was awarded a Napier Fellowship for creative Leadership. The Napier Initiative is a partnership between The Claremont Colleges and Pilgrim Place, a senior community for those who have served in religious or charitable organizations. Each of The Claremont Colleges may nominate three students who are proven leaders working for social change to be Napier Initiative Fellows. Winners form mentoring relationships with a Pilgrim Place resident whose life work/experience coincides with the student’s interests and aspirations and the award also includes a generous stipend to support innovative projects focused on social change.
As for her project proposal: While working at Huerta del Valle Marcy became concerned about the unjust situation of the predominantly low-income and low-resource minority families of color in the area. The children are severely disadvantaged educationally. Overcrowded classrooms and insufficient funding for schools leave children whose first language is not English struggling to keep up with the curriculum. This summer Marcy hopes to launch a Reading Initiative in the Hands-On Educational area of Huerta del Valle. Marcy firmly believes that "Reading not only increases children's vocabulary but also boosts their self-esteem and allows them to communicate more effectively- all characteristics that can help a child be successful in the classroom."
HdV is looking forward to working with Marcy and garden members on this project. Creating a socially just world will at times require HdV to step away from the food justice realm and incorporate other methods of empowerment. By implementing this program to the garden HdV is taking the first step towards getting there.
Last night HdV hosted its monthly community meeting for February. These monthly meetings are a great way to meet resident neighbors, keep up to date on garden projects, proposals, updates, and even community happenings. They are always hosted the third Friday of every month in the evening- so if you couldn't make it to this one mark your calendar for the next one- Friday, March 21st.
Last night’s meeting was all about motivation and introducing different garden projects that can keep all members of HdV motivated in our food justice efforts- such as a proposal to work with Kids Come First and their health clinic, sharing ideas on how to better shape our Hands-On Education center to meet the needs of the surrounding community, inquiries as to if a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box system should be considered, and even a hearty discussion about Monsanto, their practices, and how the food justice battle is never easy- but always worth it!
As usual, there were many familiar faces at last night’s meeting- and a few new ones too!! So thank you to all who have been inviting friends and family whether to join our efforts or just share a nice evening meal with us- the more the merrier!! Hope to see more faces at next month’s meeting- Friday, March 21st.
Are you still hoping to have your own plot at HdV or know somebody who is hoping to have their own plot? Well, you’re in luck!! Phase 4 is now open at the garden!! Phase 4 will offer 19 new individual family plots to the HdV family- bringing our family plot count to 60. As of right now only a few plots have been claimed… but plots end up going quickly to those who come see/tour the garden beforehand, volunteer, and show a genuine interest in the project and the surrounding community- so be sure to stop by soon. Phase 4 is the last of the community garden/ family plot areas opening for the time being as HdV shifts its focus from the community garden area to developing the Hands-On Education Center and the Intensive Production Area- both set to open this summer!!