GROW Teaching Garden
Our GROW (Gardening to Reach Out and Welcome) Teaching Garden is in its eighth year of operation and its main use is as an outdoor classroom for the University of Tulsa’s True Blue Neighbors Youth Mentoring Program (YMP), the afterschool program at Kendall-Whittier Elementary (KWE). We also have regular interaction with the students in the Earth Matters Club at the University School. YMP students participate weekly in garden workshops where they develop an appreciation for organic gardening and nutritious eating.
Our GROW Garden operates throughout the year in our four season climate which accommodates growing a wide variety of organic produce. Enjoying fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown in the garden is encouraged and is practiced enthusiastically. Food is harvested and prepared in a variety of ways to best explore the flavors of our crops. There is no limit to how a garden can facilitate learning. Different crops and recipes give insight to the physical, ecological, and cultural world and how interconnected we are with it. Lifecycles of insects and their appearances and behaviors at different stages is observed. Children also witness the process of thoughtful composting which turns what might be considered trash into a valuable, healthy soil amendment that will nourish plant roots as well as the microorganisms that make up the soil food web. The garden also offers inspiration, increased neighborhood security, and a meeting place for neighbors.
Our goal is to continually serve an increasing number of neighborhood residents, especially children. We seek to increase their awareness of where food comes from, and how they can contribute to their families’ well-being and feel the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from seeing a task through from beginning to end. The success of our efforts has caught the attention of numerous neighborhood partners and supporters. We strive to find ways for all Kendall Whittier residents to engage with our gardens and for gardeners to build a shared sense of community and a plan for improving the lifelong health of all neighbors.