Monday, September 29, 2014

21: Alliance Garden Harvest Party Week

Patrick spraying down the cider press

Waiting for face painting
One of the many pumpkin carvings
 Another successful Harvest Party has came and went. We are so glad for those that were able to join us. It was a beautiful day to be outside. People were playing games, picking vegetables and fruit, braving the bees to get some delicious apple cider, and even getting some of their faces painted. What is great about the Harvest Party is that so many different people can come together to enjoy an event put on by so few people. There were young families, students, neighbors, friends, and family all in attendance. I saw many people that came again since our last party and many more new faces. Some stayed for a little bit others stayed for hours.

Ladybug on okra
Kayla popping corn
This year we had about 100 show out for the day. This was less then I had imagined would come but very manageable and it felt more personal. I could speak to more people one on one about what we did here at the gardens and hear the stories they had about their own experience with food. For some this was the first time they were exposed to food that did not come from a store. They had never participated in a sack race or bobbed for apples. Being able to provide new experiences and new ways of seeing the world while maintaining a safe environment to experience these things is a very cool opportunity that I and the interns are blessed in having.

Cider press
Kayla showing how it is done
I want to thank Kayla for doing much of the calling and set up that an event like this requires as well as being out with me all day. Thank you to the interns Josh, Patrick, Hannah, and Katie for all the work you did in preparation for the event as well as keeping the gardens going. Thank you all for following instructions even as I was not sure which course of action was best. Thank you for our volunteers who came and weeded so I would not have too. Thank you to Grace for giving guidance and an awesome popcorn popper.

Giving garden tours
Harvest party free pick
We will still be selling produce in the mall way for donations all of October. I was wrong in saying that last week would be the last week. You can also buy Alliance Garden shirts for 5 dollars. They are great shirts for when work gets dirty.

Zach Arington

Friday, September 19, 2014

Week 20: Prepping for the Harvest Party

still getting tomatoes
 Next week is it people! The party we have all been waiting for is finally upon us! Saturday September 27 from 11AM to 5PM come over to our 46th St. garden for food, games, and tours! We will have apple cider pressing and popcorn popping demonstrations and samples. You can carve a pumpkin into a great jack o lantern! There will be sack races, apple bobbing, face painting, lawn games and a garage sale! We will be giving tours of both gardens and you can pick and eat anything from our gardens. This event is for everyone in the community so come by and see what we have been doing all summer!

still getting watermelon
That is a pretty good sales pitch if I do say so myself. We are hard at work getting this all together and making sure that all of the details fit together. It is not easy but it is very rewarding. Most of the time we do not have many visitors out to our gardens. People will ask about us, they see us in the community work at different gardens, and selling our produce but it is only this event that most people can really get a feel for the hard work and passion we put into this. I love what we do and getting to share it with friends, family, and strangers is a really cool way to spend a Saturday in the fall.

still getting raspberries
This week is also the last week for us to have our stand in the student center selling produce. We will still be producing it however so you can come out and buy some while we are working but they do not like us taking up their space longer then two months.

46th garden preparing for the party
We are getting volunteers right now which is fun. We get to meet new people that are very different from us but enjoy being outside in God's creation and just sharing life with us. Thanks to them we are getting lots of weeding done and some of them may become the garden interns of the future.

Things are still green this late in September. While many things are just coming up we are now mostly on the back end of harvest. Things are slowing down, drying up, setting seed, and basically just getting ready for a long winter and the year to come. I enjoy this time of the season just to seeing the end of the full circle of what we started out the year doing. Looking back at the pictures will show the remarkable growth and beauty of this year. One can feel very accomplished.

Zach Arington: Garden Manager

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 19: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

Brown Matter (AKA Leaves)

Drying Herbs
 Have you ever had one of those weeks where you are making progress but not as much as you would have liked due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances? This week would fit under that category. We are getting an abundance of produce right now and that has been awesome. We are making money, people are signing up for our Sustainability Alliance, we are helping people get nutritious food at low or no cost. Things are going well. But at the same time our hose got run over by the mowers so our irrigation system is done for the year. Our wonderful cleome (spider flower) split because it is too heavy and crushed surrounding plants. It rained all day so I couldn't get out in the garden to harvest. Squash bugs are and will always be alive and ruining squash.

Cleome (AKA Spider Flower)
In just about all of this I could do little to change the outcome. Not only with the outcomes I wish went differently but also with the ones that were in my favor. I put the seed in the ground and made sure that it got enough water, added nutrients to the soil, and kept pests and weeds at bay. I did not get all of them nor could I no matter how vigilant I was. It has been super cool this summer which does not help most our our summer crops to grow and I can't change that.

Patrick picking tomatoes
No one told me that my hose would be cut up this week. I would have put more signs up that say "DON'T RUN OVER THE HOSE!" The hose has not moved any all summer so it could have happened at anytime. It helps to be prepared which I am constantly learning that I need to do better. However, worrying and fretting that something might happen is by no means a healthy way to do anything.

Not bad for a morning
God is in control and I am not. He has a plan and I am in it but the plan will work out perfectly whether or not I succeed or fail. Those are truths that I can find rest in even when it feels like things are not going according to plan.

Notes: Watch the video of the Harvest Party from last year to get psyched about the one we are having this year. September 27 from 11-5.
Our Facebook page is now the Sustainability Alliance as it now includes the Creation Care Alliance and the Living Learning Community house.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 18: The Taste of Marion and the Front Page of the Paper!

Opal Basil
A beautiful date spot
This week we had the Taste of Marion at the Indiana Wesleyan Recreational Center. This is where churches, businesses, and other organizations can meet students to let them know who they are, what they are about, and where they are located. The students love it because there are free giveaways and for many of them that are new to IWU do not know the area very well. For the second year in a row the Alliance Garden, Living Learning Community house, and Creation Care Alliance have teamed up to have a booth. We had vegetables, fruit, and salsa for donations, sign ups to be part of our emailing list, and Harvest Party flyers. Although it is difficult to compete for attention near free dominoes pizza, we had lots of people stop by. Like with any of our stands the main purpose is promotional. I believe this is working as people continue to recognize me from the garden stands and want to take part in some way.

Another bit of good promotion was the Chronicle Tribune, the Marion newspaper, asked to do a story on us. Grace and Hannah were interviewed at our garden and had their pictures taken. We are on the front page and they even promoted our Harvest Party. You can grab a copy of the article at the Marion Library.

Thanks Debbie for the picture at Taste of Marion!
Notes: We have finally integrated all the chickens together. There is still the random scuffle as the figure out the pecking order but that cannot be helped.
The Harvest Party will be Saturday September 27 from 11-5 so please come!
Our stand at the student center will remain up until the end of September.

Best Articles are always front page I reckon