Do Good Bus and Music for Relief had volunteers come back to Inglewood to continue adding gardens to the SJLI (Social Justice Learning Institute) movement, “100 Gardens in Inglewood” through small gardening projects called “10 Homes 10 Seeds.” As I wrote back in March, Inglewood is a “food desert,” in which healthy, fresh options for food are not available; 7 Elevens are where groceries are done, and fast-food restaurants are crammed into almost every block.
Today, the day started with forty gardens and ended with fifty thanks to hard-working volunteers and a community taking their health into their own hands and tools, and working together towards a healthy city.
First of all, I got to meet our newest LPU head and Californian, Lorenzo Errico (@lorenzoerr). We were on the same team on the bus for a hilariously bad game of pictionary (United Nations of Awesome!) and of course our group won. Rebecca from Do Good Bus had us all play Elfs, Giants and Wizards before we split into groups of 3-5 volunteers, my teammates being Lorenzo, Dayna (@pandayna), Mark and Little Jett (“I’m five and a half!”), with our team leader Derek. Our host was Carlos, who was kind enough to set up shade for us and had spent a few days watering the grass we’d be working on, the soil moist and easy to work with.
For this garden, the layout was two 4×4 areas, the same vegetables in both, but one was for Carlos and the other for the community. The last garden I worked on in March was a single large one, no exact split of the produce. I personally think this one would be easier to manage. We had to separate the squash in a single area for itself since it tends to overwhelm other plants.
The soil and grass was easy to shovel into, hand-tools also used to tear up a thin layer and remove the grass and their roots as well as we could. Store-packed organic soil by a local company, Kellogg, then covered the original soil, with worm casting (“worm poop”) added on to add more nutrients, compost layered on last. All three layers and casting mixed and kneaded together- the most important part- the hardest part was done. This garden also differed from the last, only the original dirt used and no worm casting.
Each garden was five rows: tomato, basil, cilantro, carrot, onion, and peppers. Little Jett was in charge of the popsicle markers while the rest of us made the rows and planted the seedlings and seeds, making sure we had troughs in the dirt to help the water reach the roots. It was fun, Jett running around and trolling Dayna with the popsicles, and Derek and Mark teasing me for my ridiculous love for tomatoes and hate for broccoli. We were done by 1:30pm (which Tiger the cute Pitt was happy about since she was tied up to keep out of the work) and Carlos’ gardens were looking great. Our hands and jeans were filthy, but it felt great!
Thank you Music for Relief and Do Good Bus for connecting us to such a great, strong community of people. This volunteering is about every three months through Do Good Bus, but why wait? Check out the website for dates and activities at Queen Park: http://sjli-cp.org/.