BOY SCOUT CREATES TEACHING GARDEN FOR YOUTH AT KENNEDY ESTATES
The site at Kennedy Estates before the teaching garden was installed.
Kennedy Estates, a 100-unit affordable housing community for low-income families in Sacramento, is known for the commitment by its residents and staff to gardening, healthy eating, good nutrition and health and wellness.
The property is home to a one-quarter acre community garden and, as part of an Edible Landscape project, more than 80 fruit and citrus trees have been planted on the property in recent years. In addition, nutrition education, cooking classes and food preparation workshops are all part of an ongoing series of Resident Services for both youth and adults.
While the residents are an international community of ethnicities and cultures, with only 30 to 40 of the 100 households speaking English fluently, many of the Kennedy Estates households share an interest in the large community garden. The Kennedy Estates Garden Group meets regularly to plan projects and discuss issues related to the community garden, while some residents grow edible plants and herbs in the small courtyards outside their apartments. Many of the Southeast Asian residents are often familiar with both the work involved and the benefits of growing their own food and are often highly skilled farmers. And each fall, the community gathers to celebrate a multicultural “Harvest Festival” for the entire complex.
In the summer and fall of 2011, Kennedy Estates added a new feature to its gardening programs – a teaching garden for youth. Planned, designed, and constructed as his Eagle Project, Nicholas Reed, a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 288 in Elk Grove, transformed a bare dirt plot outside of the Kennedy Estates Community Building into a beautiful new garden comprised of three raised garden boxes, a drip system, a rainwater catching structure, and a compost box.
The new teaching garden was created especially for the youth residents at Kennedy Estates to provide a hands-on experience during their after-school programs and to facilitate lessons about nutrition and the environment while teaching the students about the science of growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and what is required to carefully plant and tend to a garden.
In addition to construction of the garden, Nicholas organized a team of volunteers to assist him in building the new garden and he also solicited donations of materials and monetary contributions to complete the project.
At a reception on November 29, 2011 to celebrate the completion of the new teaching garden – planted with a winter garden of onions, garlic, bok choy and Chinese broccoli – Nicholas announced that his volunteers contributed over 150 hours to build the garden.