Garden Grill-Out Goes Great

by Laurel Dixon on July 22, 2014

Ryan’s report on our June grill-out, our third garden grill-out of the season:

It is still the first week of summer, but with a lack of rain and so much going on, I was feeling just a little bit weary already. Maybe it was too much sun, not enough water—something had me feeling dried out. The cure for this condition occurred last night at our third Garden Grill-Out of the season. In an effort to reach out to our neighbors and make new friends, Seedleaf is hosting these monthly pot-luck grill out events that are free to attend. We bring Marksbury Farm brats and hot dogs, a grill, and a table, and then we get out of the way and let the magic happen. At this event, the weather cooperated and we got a great crowd. The tables were full of home-made peach cobbler, potato salad, green salad, pizza (thanks, Mello Mushroom!), and fresh fruits and vegetables. Some neighbors brought food, but some did not—it hardly mattered as there was plenty for all.

And quietly, steadily, our garden champions— Jessica, Remy, and Erin—were directing some much needed garden maintenance. They planted a Maypop and a Fig. They watered and weeded. They taught some of our young neighbors how to water the plants (without watering the weeds). They continued to do small tasks at the right time, tasks that will cultivate a welcoming space, even after the party is over.

It was such a joy to see it all happen again on a gorgeous summer evening among the lengthening shadows. Sharing food is a major part of Seedleaf’s mission because we see how cultural and interpersonal boundaries are bridged as neighbors break bread together. This is our heart’s work. Evenings like these can spur all of us on into the hard work and challenges ahead.

While these events are free to the participants, the Garden Grill Outs, and all the quality community gardening we are busy doing, do not come cheaply. We could not persist in this good work without the generosity of our donors and our volunteers. If you are able to join in the abundance that we have the privilege of observing, either by your gift of time or of money, we hope you will do so. And please let your friends and family know why you choose to support Seedleaf in our work of nourishing communities.



Putting Down Roots with Seedleaf

by Laurel Dixon on July 21, 2014

Our new Americorps VISTA member Laurel Dixon tells us why she’s excited to be working with Seedleaf:

When I was eighteen, my kind and long-suffering father let me rip up a good portion of the grass in our backyard and plant a tiny garden, which had a bumper crop of three tomatoes and exactly one crook-neck squash. Every year since then, I’ve had a garden every summer—ranging from pots in front of my apartment building to the two giant raised beds I have now. I worked on a farm from the ages of 15-22, and I always loved running my hands through the dirt, or holding the first ripe tomato of the season in my palm. I had no idea that I was someday going to be gardening as a full-time job.

Within days of starting at Seedleaf, I could already see small instances of their mission taking root, and I felt quietly confirmed in my decision to join them. Whether it was the kids at the summer S.E.E.D’s course excitedly chopping vegetables at a cooking class or the man who stopped me on my way to one of the community gardens and asked me when the next garden grill-out was happening, I could see evidence of their mission in action. One of my best experiences so far has been installing garden beds for the AVOL Solomon House. The group of summer campers who came out to help us were incredibly hard workers, carrying huge buckets of soil in the blazing heat. By the end of the day we had three new garden beds installed for the residents, two of which were wheelchair accessible.

I can’t wait to continue working with Seedleaf—to provide them with my farming knowledge and my writing and promotional skills, but also to learn more about gardening, composting, and building community. If you see me sweating it out in a garden, please feel free to say hi and introduce yourself!

Laurel Americorps Introduction Photo


Future Backyard Gardeners

by Karen on July 16, 2014

Here’s Ashley’s latest update on the SEEDS program. Summer will be over so soon! Just a few weeks left. These kids are making the most of it.

Another week has come and gone as the SEEDS kids participated in a variety of activities, from visiting our neighbor’s backyard gardens to discussing healthy eating habits.

On Tuesday, July 1st, the SEEDS kids went on a walking tour to see several of our partner gardens, such as 4th Street Farm where the Maddocks’ backyard chickens, bee hive and rain garden flourish. garden tourWe stopped at the New Beginnings garden at on Bryan Avenue, the Al’s Bar herb garden, and the East 7th Street Center garden. We also visited a few more backyards to see what our neighbors are doing in their own gardens. The kids enjoyed seeing so many different types and sizes of gardens and took pictures to show their families. At the end of the tour, some of the kids and volunteers received donated plants to growing into their own gardens. Looks like we have some new backyard gardeners in our neighborhood!

On Thursday, July 3rd, volunteers Kory Brinker and Kathryn Dickens led the SEEDS kids in a discussion about healthy eating. The kids discussed food groups and roles each food group plays in our bodies. They discussed calories and nutrition, as well as food culture in Africa. At the end of the day, the kids created their own My to hang on their refrigerator to remind them to try to eat healthy every day. We are very excited that our kids are receiving hands-on experience in growing and caring for a garden, meal preparation, and nutrition basics, while also building a connection with healthy fresh food. By the end of this summer, we have no doubt that the kids will be great community food ambassadors for our neighborhoods.

my plateNext week’s theme is water where the kids will learn about the importance of the water cycle for our gardens through a series of fun water games. They will also be participating in a cooking activity making watermelon salad and fruit infused water for a healthy summer treat.



We will be working on Friday morning, July 4th, at the Castlewood/New Beginnings Community Garden (845 Bryan Ave).

We will not be working on Saturday morning, July 5th, at Withrow/Nelson Community Garden.

We will be back at it on Saturday afternoon at GTP Community Garden (330 Georgetown Place).

Have a great Independence Day Weekend!


Here’s a great gardening class for youth coming up next week–spaces still available:

Art-N-Garden Good Time Fun with John Walker –

Explore the beauty, science and history of gardening as we learn about growing food and other plants, good and bad garden bugs, garden art, and more.   From soil science to sun-printed pictures, we’ll enjoy daily activities in the LASC garden and in our surrounding community.   Did you know we have bee hives right here in our neighborhood?  We’ll build, look, explore, create and even taste some glories from the garden!  You’ll get an international perspective from John Walker, a native of Wales!


9 am to noon | Grades 3rd – 5th | $90 non-member/ $80 member price | July 7 – 11

Grades refer to last grade completed.


Pre-register for this and all of the other LASC classes for two-year old children up to adults at or by calling 859-252-5222.