Thursday, May 28, 2015

In these first couple of days at the garden I have had the privilege of meeting some amazing people. When hired for this Alliance Garden position I was told, not only I am going to grow a garden, but I will also grow in a community. I was excited about the garden… quite hesitant on the community part.

I mean, what is community? This term is thrown around a lot on IWU campus. We talk a lot about intentional community, but what does that mean? I have always wrestled with this concept and fitting into the ideal definition of community, since I am rather introverted and enjoy large unseemly amounts time to myself. What do you guys think? I do not actually have a personal definition to give to you, so this might be a bit of a letdown.

Yet, through weeding, tilling, mulching, planting, and much more I have been able to work alongside my lovely workers and learning about who they are. On the surface we are all very similar people and we even laughed about it when we first met about how eerily similar we all are. Yet after spending a little time with Armi, Ashley, Lexi, and Emily, our quirks, differences, backgrounds, etc. began to show through. Armi has an insatiable need to learn new life skills; Ashley’s dry sarcasm never ceases to make me laugh; Lexi has a legitimate duck obsession; and Emily, well Emily is the biggest sweetheart and perhaps the most normal out of the group. Even though we are pretty early into our work and adventures I am sure this will be a season of bonding for all of us.


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Meet the crew!

Ashley and Andra in the (now) clean shed!
As a pseudo-philosopher, avid reader of Steinbeck and Dr. Seuss, dumpster diver enthusiast, coffee addict,  feminist, and lover of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I am a bit of a mixed bag. I grew up in middle of eight kids (resulting in a classic case of middle child syndrome) and moved all over the States experiencing a rather nomadic childhood. At a young age I developed a love for books and the outdoors (which coincidentally reflects my jobs this summer: part-time at the IWU library and part-time with the Alliance Garden). I am studying philosophy, theology, and psychology at IWU with no strong desire to make a career but rather hope develop my character within those areas of study. Oh, and my name is Andra.

Ashley Sobczak is a senior at Indiana Wesleyan University studying psychology and youth ministry. She works as a youth pastor at a small country church in Marion and enjoys art, music, reading, and, of course, gardening. In the future, she hopes to establish a garden-based ministry, continue working as a youth pastor, earn her doctorate, and become the best professor ever. When she's not gardening, she can normally be found going on random adventures with friends or talking to her pet fish. She loves dark chocolate and monkeys.

Lex and her new friend
Hi! My name is Alexis and I just recently graduated from IWU studying Photography and Business. If we happen to run across each other, you will likely notice that I ask a lot of questions, love to understand new ideas, and also that I am quite passionate about ducks.
In the time that I am not gardening, I will usually be working on a new project called Photo Stories, spending time outdoors with friends, or reading a wonderful book in a hammock in the woods.

Emily is a pro manure-shoveler

Emily Hines grew up on a farm of "corn and cows" in rural Indiana. Crocheting, crafting, and sewing are favorite pastimes, as well as reading, exploring, and playing games with her husband. She's a Wesleyan pastor in the Marion area, and loves experiencing God in nature and in the Church. Milk/lactose-free dark chocolate is her favorite.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Week 1: Welcome to the Garden! 

Decomposition is fascinating business. Between molds, bacteria, worms, grubs, and heat, there is plenty of activity happening in a compost pile. These ingredients, mixed with time, constitute the recipe for sweet garden fertilizer. 

Our week began with the spreading of this elixir onto our plot at the 38th Street Alliance Garden. 

However, the finding of an enormous grub disrupted our labors. What does a group of Garden Interns do with such a treasure? 

Feed the chickens. 

But this was no ho-hum interruption. This grub fostered a festive occasion celebrating the circle of farm life. There was much rejoicing on our part and from the grub-greedy chickens. It was quite the event, indeed. 

Speaking of the circle of farm life, more interesting chemistry happens in vermiculture bins. Much like an open-air compost pile, vermiculture is an environment of decomposition, utilizing the amazing digestion tract of simple earth worms to break down organic material into natural fertilizer. 

Such a small, easily-maintained method of composting allocates a purpose for kitchen scraps.

Let no opportunities or energies be wasted when striving to live the sustainable garden lifestyle.

-- Emily