Reinventing organic community gardens with “Yarducopia”!
By GeorgeAnne Sprinkle, ACAT’s Community Garden Organizer
ACAT’s “Yarducopia” project connects homeowners who donate yard space and tools with volunteers who want to learn organic gardening techniques. Photo by Samarys Seguinot-Medina
This summer, ACAT started a pilot program called “Yarducopia.” The project builds the skills of Anchorage residents to grow their own food free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Yarducopia brings people together around a common interest – growing healthy, organic food.
Here’s how it works: Yarducopia connects homeowners who donate yard space and tools with people who have time to garden. ACAT trains the volunteers to build sustainable, organic gardens and meets with them once a week to address any questions, concerns or observations. The homeowner and volunteers split the produce grown, saving ten percent to be given to a charity of their choice.
The response we received surpassed all of our expectations. We paired 13 volunteers to 5 homeowner plots. Volunteers planted 18 different types of plants from Asian cabbage to zucchini, all from seedlings started in the ACAT office. The weekly meetings with the volunteers provided hands-on experience and an opportunity to talk about a full range of gardening topics including planting, composting, nutrition and soil science.
Most of our volunteers have had little to no gardening experience. Through the program, they learned how to build a garden bed on top of existing lawn using permaculture techniques. Participants harvested enough to supplement meals throughout the week. They learned new varieties, new tastes, and textures.
If you are interested in getting involved with Yarducopia, we would love to hear from you. Please call 222-7714 or email garden at akaction dot org. Be sure to “Like” our Facebook page.
ACAT collaborates with schools and other groups to promote organic gardening in public spaces. School and community gardens are ideal places to engage people in learning to grow their own healthy food and to demonstrate best non-toxic practices.
Volunteers wanted for ACAT’s Organic Garden at “C” Street Community Gardens
ACAT partners with the Alaska Center for the Environment, Alaska Women’s Environmental Network, and the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service to offer organic gardening workshops and to cultivate two 10’ x 20’ demonstration plots at the “C” Street Community Gardens in Anchorage.
We donate a portion of the harvest to the Food Bank of Alaska.
Organic Peace Garden, Steller Secondary School
ACAT helped students at Anchorage’s Steller Secondary School to start an organic garden on school grounds. We offered science and gardening workshops and mentor students in organic methods.
Participating students learn about the effects of pesticides on people, fish and wildlife and how they can grow healthy, organic food without the use of harmful pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
Please contact us to discuss how you can start an organic demonstration garden at your school. We can help!
If you are interested in knowing about ways that students may be exposed to harmful chemicals at school, please visit our Schools Page. Visit our State Legislation Page to learn more about how ACAT is working to prevent harmful chemical exposures at Alaska’s public schools.