Summer Update / by Ryan Koch

We recently learned, as many of you already know, that our fair town no longer recycles paper products. While this is not just an inconvenience but a grief for folks who care about our community, it is also an opportunity for honesty and for changed behavior. To that end, we are not sending out a paper version of our summer newsletter this year. Instead, we will share electronically below. While we are hopeful that the city of Lexington will expand recycling services in the coming weeks and months, we recognize that the earth may groan just a bit less if there are a thousand fewer pieces of paper headed to the landfill. We appreciate your understanding in this as we all work toward a healthier earth!

Journaling is part of the learning process in our SEEDS program.

Journaling is part of the learning process in our SEEDS program.

Greetings from Seedleaf, and happy summer! We are turning the page on a busy and productive spring and are well positioned for a great growing season. Since March we have facilitated 45 Get In a Garden (GIG) Events at our 13 free u-pick community gardens. We have hosted 7 trainings, including our Compost 101s and Wormshops. We have connected with over 160 volunteers and participants, and have cultivated 550 pounds of fresh produce to share with our neighbors.

We have also gotten five weeks into our summer youth program, SEEDS. The end of June marks the halfway point, which I find to be a good time to take stock and to appreciate our accomplishments to date:

  • 22 students earned between $85-$100 for their work in June.

  • We have facilitated 6 cooking events with our youth, including two visits to FoodChain to create some fantastic salads featuring fresh greens harvested by the students that very morning.

  • We have delivered 15 pounds of fresh produce to the Lighthouse Mission, a feeding organization just a block away from one of our strongest gardens.

  • We have established a raised bed garden at the home of one of our neighbors on Lexington’s North Side, expanding her growing space by 32 square feet.

All this learning and service represents the good work of a dedicated group of young people excited to improve themselves and their neighborhoods. 

At our Community Composting Stations, visitors are invited to contribute their home waste to our active piles.

At our Community Composting Stations, visitors are invited to contribute their home waste to our active piles.

Another area in which we are experiencing significant growth is in our composting efforts. We are continuing our restaurant food waste pickups through our Compost Partners program and have already picked up 15,000 gallons of food waste since January. Our residential compost pickup service, the Compost Carpool, is also growing. This easy solution for upcycling food waste is available to all Fayette County residences. Due to the growing awareness about the limits of paper recycling and the environmental impact of our local trash collection sites, there are now more Lexingtonians who are wanting to move toward smart and environmentally sustainable ways of processing waste. Thanks to the subscribers for our compost pick-up program, we are creating finished compost-- a fantastic soil amendment that strengthens and nourishes our garden soils and helps lawns retain more rainwater. 

So, clearly, a ton of good stuff is underway. We are serving our neighbors, equipping our youth, engaging our volunteers, and helping residents take responsibility for their food waste. However, all of this good work comes at a cost, and at this halfway point in our fiscal year, our expenses are greater than our income. We are projected to finish the year with a deficit. Our staff and board are working together to cut costs and to be more efficient, but we are feeling the squeeze of diminishing funding from both grants and donations. We very much want to continue to do the good work of nourishing communities, as we have since 2007. At this point, we need the support of donors like you who have helped us to get to this point. Here’s how you can help:

Your support each month helps Seedleaf plan and grow more!

Your support each month helps Seedleaf plan and grow more!

  • Join our Perennial Club and support us with a recurring gift. These monthly gifts help us plan for success. For example, your gift of $5 helps us plant and maintain one tomato plant from May till October. When you make this monthly gift, we can come back stronger each year. like perennial plants! You can begin your support right here.

  • Make a meaningful one-time gift. You can do so online at right here.

  • Become a Compost Carpool subscriber. This pickup service helps offset the cost of our 13 free u-pick community gardens. Subscribe today right here. Already a subscriber? Please tell your friends and family how you are taking responsibility for your kitchen waste, keeping it out of landfills and helping it grow more productive soils. 

  • Share our stories and updates on your preferred social media platform. We need your help raising the profile of our work. It means so much when you tell your friends why you support Seedleaf.

We are confident that with your help we can continue to grow great gardens for many seasons to come. Thanks so much for keeping up with our work, and for joining in any way you can, and all the ways you to!