Garden Opening at Highcrest Elementary School

IMG_20150927_134814133_TOPOn September 27th, 2015 40 parents, children, and staff gathered outside Highcrest Elementary School in Wethersfield for the groundbreaking of a new school garden. The garden is the beginning of an educational agriculture project at Highcrest in partnership with Summer of Solutions Hartford.

IMG_20150927_131749258To start off the day, we worked with the kids to decorate 4 raised beds with blue and green handprints. Then, the parents assembled the beds, lined them with landscaping fabric, and filled them with compost and topsoil. As we finished filling the beds, the kids planted garlic, kale, and parsnips.

IMG_20150927_142625204This time of year, there aren’t a lot of options for fall planting, so we put a few colder-weather crops in the ground and crossed our fingers for a late frost! Come spring, when our interns start working in the classrooms at Highcrest, we’ll plant spring crops with the students.

This project was the result of a great team of parents and staff, including parents Andrea Aglieco and Carrie Rand-Anastasiades and Principal John Bean. We are very grateful to the families and staff that joined us for the groundbreaking

Apple Picking at Belltown Orchards!

After a successful fundraiser on Tuesday, we used a little bit of the cash from our raffle to take our team apple picking at Belltown Hill Orchards! We visited Belltown earlier this summer at the tail end of blueberry season to pick buckets and buckets of delicious blueberries.

This Friday, during our usual Friday Workshop time, we drove out to Glastonbury again in the hopes of racing an oncoming thunderstorm and picking apples before the downpour. (Spoiler alert: we failed).

IMG_20151009_154239131_HDRJust moments after we arrived, the sky opened up. It started pouring, but we decided to wait it out inside Belltown’s farm store.

It rained for about 20 minutes, which we spent admiring a diverse array of gourds that they had for sale. We also broke down and ate ice cream.

With fear in our hearts that we would get stuck in another downpour, we finally set out to actually pick apples! We split our harvest at the end, and everyone took home a big bag of apples. Pie, anyone?

Be a Pizza our Success

12115661_944502668955449_643321569190097737_nLast Tuesday, we hosted a fundraiser at Flatbread Co in Canton. Flatbread hosts fundraisers every week for local nonprofits. They donate a portion of their proceeds from every pizza sold to the organization and provide space in the front of the restaurant for informational tables. If you work with a local nonprofit and are interested in holding a fundraiser there, you should reach out!

We had such an amazing event on Tuesday that I almost completely forgot to take pictures! So many great friends, family members, and supporters came out to support us. We had the chance to introduce partners from 4 or 5 years ago to our current interns and spend many wonderful hours socializing over pizza. Here are the few photos I found a moment to take. Feel free to email with any you took and I will add them!

We are very grateful to everyone who donated items to our raffle, which was a huge success. We raised $260 from the raffle alone, thanks to:

Sea Tea Improv

Hartford Hot Several

Lady Ashley Designs

Hartbeat Ensemble

NoRA’s Cupcakes

Black Eyed Sally’s

Steve Shapiro

Paul Parker

The Mark Twain House

Community Solutions

Studio 860

Watering the YOUMedia Center Window Garden

Summer of Solutions now has the window garden at the YOUMedia center up and running. Now that we have plants growing in the bottle gardens, we need people to consistently water the plants. Our goal now is to have the teens who use the space become more involved in the upkeep and the maintenance of the garden. To facilitate that Summer of Solutions is creating a watering schedule for the garden, on the days that we’re not there. Teens who sign up will also be able to receive community service hours. This should be very helpful to high school students in particular; who need the hours to graduate. Teens that use the space that are interested can email Sonsharae to sign up

My Window

     My name is Tashae and I live in Hartford in the Blue Hills Avenue neighborhood. My sister Tenaya is a program coordinator at Summer of Solutions and introduced me to the program. I have no experience working with nature or gardening, but when she told me we were going to be working with children I was excited. The children that we work with are so funny and you learn a lot from them. They are really great at working together as a team and helping each other out, something that many of us can work on.image000000_2
     My team works at the Zion Street site on Fridays and there is always work to do there to keep you busy! I had no idea where to start so I just got my hands dirty and went from there (later I purchased gloves to lessen the mess). Soon things that I put in the ground started to sprout to my surprise. I could not believe it! I’m a very city girl and I grew kale! I decided to start my own garden at home despite the fact that I live in a small apartment with no outdoor space.
    With seeds and compost in hand I started my windowsill garden by planting kale, mint, and nasturtium. Turns out the plants love my neighborhood and they all grew rapidly! Now before I leave home for my internship I water and prune my plants. I have not one but two windowsills that are bursting with life. They are a vibrant addition to my apartment and a tasty one as well!

CTRA Habitat Center!!!

One of our sites is at The Connecticut River Academy. We spend a lot of time in the habitat center inside of CTRA. The habitat center has an assortment of different animals like Lizard, Birds, Quails, Fish and Guinea Pigs. We started planting outside we have planted strawberries, carrots, potatoes, kale and lettuce. We are thinking of building a shed or a little hut outside so we wont have to keep going back and fourth to the cage located in the garage of the school.

The YouMedia’s Window Garden!!!

We have been planning to build a window garden in the Hartford Public Library’s You Media Center for two months now. We have been collecting material such as bottles and rope to succeed at this project. Our next step is to build a stable window garden made out of glass bottles. We have learn how to cut the glass bottles with a glass cutter, a burning candle and ice. We try to communicate with the teens so they can learn how to plant fruits and vegetables. I think once we start planting the teens will be more interested in our garden because they will actually see what we are doing instead of us trying to explain it to them.

Next week we will be starting the four week series, where we participate in food justice activities with the teens at the library. The highlights of the series will be completing the bottle garden, then planting the seeds in the garden. After we complete the garden the next challenge will be hanging it up and securing it. During the four week series our goal is to help education the teens in the YouMedia Center about sustainable living; with crops that they can grow their selves. We will eventually help the YouMedia Center sell their crops for fundraising purpose.

Window garden

Now that we’re into the second week of the program, we’ve really gotten started with the garden at CTRA. We couldn’t really get much done the first week since it was cold and rainy. We turned the soil in the garden beds and got dirt to lay the beds. At the library we now have a program and materials to start the window garden, so I am looking forward to that in the coming weeks.

7 Month Gardening

My First week working for Summer of Solutions was challenging and fun.

Who Knows All the Dirt?

"Gardner Know all the dirt!"

“Gardeners know all the dirt!”


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