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McPherson Neighborhood Community and Family Gardens

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Since 2009, the McPherson Elementary School gardens have expanded to include both a community and family garden. The gardens allows students and low income families the opportunity to grow fresh fruit and vegetables for their families, spend time together learning about healthy food choices, cook economically, and spend time together with other families and community members to socialize, share a meal, or volunteer. The gardens are available to families and community members year-round and are bustling with action at any given time. 

 

Community Garden

The Community Garden is available to McPherson Elementary School students, families, and neighborhood residents. Students from pre-school to high school along with their families can be seen sowing and harvesting Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer vegetables or volunteering to clean and repair garden beds or maintain the common walkways. McPherson Elementary School teachers use the garden as an outdoor classroom for learning and observing about plant life and nature. Mari Philo, the MES art teacher, says about the garden, “Students’ senses are activated and are motivated because the garden is part of a real life experience. It is alive and an "in the moment experience" that students can take in through their sense of sight, smell, and touch. Students are motivated to sketch the plants, beautiful flowers, interesting trees, and their natural surroundings because they are looking at more than just a visual image in a book or painting that does not move nor that they can touch nor smell....they are engaged and interacting in the garden experience."

 

Family Garden

At the request of families and community members, the Family Garden was designed to provide families with individual family plots. The Family Garden currently contains 25 family plots. Throughout the year, families sow and harvest vegetables and herbs. Often times, families will plant foods similar to those they would find in their home country. Fabiola Osorio, a parent, says “Parents are teaching their kids how to farm the land in the same ways their own parents taught them back in their home country.” Additionally, parents apply what they learn from Napa Valley Parent University classes to decide what to grow in their plots and how to maintain their plots. Throughout the year, families will gather together for potlucks to socialize and share excess produce. The demand for plots exceeds what we are able to offer families. Currently, the Family Garden has a waiting list of families interested in having their own plots.

Access to the gardens is essential to the health and well-being of the McPherson community. For many families, access to fruits and vegetables is a way for them to save money and provide healthy meals for their families. For others, the gardens are also a meeting place for volunteerism and social gatherings.