ACAT’s organic community gardening outreach grows 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.

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@akaction.org