Monday, May 16, 2016

Garden of the Month - Multiple YMCA Locations (Fort Worth)

In September of 2013, the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth received a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture to create three community gardens and enhance an existing garden. The purpose of these gardens was to implement wellness and garden-based learning for three early learning centers and two Y branch afterschool programs for school age children. The Amon G Carter Jr Downtown YMCA’s social responsibility committee had discussed having a roof top garden for a few years.  With this grant, the rooftop garden was created as well as gardens at Amaka Childcare Center in the Butler Housing Community and the Eastside YMCA.  As well, enhancements were made to the existing community garden at the McDonald Southeast Y. Two of our gardens are in food deserts.

Kyle Amato of Community Cultivators has helped us forge the creation and sustainability of the Downtown Y rooftop gardens, and the additional gardens at the Eastside Y and McDonald Southeast Y.  He created classes for three branches and has weekly work times to help recruit and encourage volunteers to sustain these gardens.  Lorie Grandclaire-Diaz created the Amaka Garden and is working with the children as part of her yearly Master Gardener Project.  Four volunteers from the Master Gardner Mod Squad have taken on McDonald Southeast Y in Southeast Fort Worth for their project.  Their commitment and work is creating a beautiful space out of the existing garden to bring the predominately senior community together over food and cultivation.  We are seeing the fruits of our work. Each community is different so the process of each garden becoming its own unique culture is evolving. 

This work has brought great joy and energy to our children and members that are involved.  Please come bring your expertise and ideas to our gardens.  We would love for volunteers to come teach us more as we walk this path.  For information please call me; Karen Kelly 817-566-1066.