In its first ten years, Gardens for Humanity has been a catalyst for building or funding twenty-eight gardens in four states in urban and rural places of need; in schools and health-care facilities, on reservations.
As we grow into our next season we are building on and expanding the scope of our activities to assist in the development of gardens, sustainability education and agriculture in the Verde Valley of central Arizona. We are creating demonstration sites, to research, develop and show diverse applications of exemplary food, water and energy systems.
Please click on headings below to read more about our projects.
We realize that public gardens bring a deep authentic sense of place to us and provide space to celebrate life. For all of time artists, poets, musicians, dancers and story tellers have been inspired by life-giving gardens to express what speaks to them and are the creative bridge between nature and community. Gardens open us to beauty, serenity and peace all around us; and to physical and spiritual awareness, nourishment, and health.
During World War II, "Victory Gardens" — backyard vegetable gardens — contributed to 40% of this country's food production. Today more and more people want to remember how to garden due primarily to rising costs of fuel, food and transportation. Gardens for Humanity is currentlsy involved with two demonstration gardens in the Verde Valley. We facilitate and coordinate tours to those sites, as well as mentorship, apprenticeships, work-study and service-learning opportunities, training and certification programs.
At the heart of our task is education to help bring a sustainable community into being, to give our children and all members of our community the values, tools, understanding, leadership skills, and experiences we need to seek and regain balance with the natural world
Our objective is to set a framework for integration of environmental education into school and experiential curriculum focusing on academic achievement, a healthy lifestyle, environmental and community stewardship and social development.
Green Docent Program
This program offers an organized "tool kit" consisting of a project coordinator and a "green docent" volunteer network to utilize the existing dynamic school garden setting where interdisciplinary approaches will cultivate the talents and skills of all students while enriching the student's capacities of observation and thinking. A "green docent" is a volunteer working closely with a project coordinator, a classroom teacher and the students connecting the garden's experiential opportunities to core subjects.
Currently under development, this program will teach and mentor youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in principles and practices of: sustainable food systems design and operation, including bio-regional strengths, local seed and food sovereignty and security; green building with initial attention to basic home energy audits, energy conservation, efficiency, and "weatherization" - including wind-break and shade tree plantings around homes and housing projects; leadership for personal development and growth for community sustainability, well-being and survival, ground this in local bio-regional Earth-centric cultural traditions and wisdom -- "All of Relations...the Land is the Teacher....the Land is the Leader..."
Through plants and trees, every subject, every walk of life is addressed. Plants have influenced human civilizations since the beginning. In recent generations many of us have forgotten our relationship with plants, how to cultivate and nurture a garden. Gardens for Humanity offers workshops designed to reconnect us to the earth through learning how to plan, prepare, plant and carefully tend a garden all season long. Teachings also address irrigation, fertilizing, pest protection and harvesting.
Gardens for Humanity works to restore and vitalize the Verde Valley as the ‘breadbasket’ of Northern Arizona raising and distributing local food to regional markets and restaurants.
For well over 1000 years, people have raised abundant crops of grain, fruit, vegetables and medicinal herbs in the Verde Valley. First the Native peoples, then more recently the territorial pioneers each giving their descendants a self-reliant "basic foods" legacy and exporting surpluses throughout northern Arizona. Indeed, it has only been the past sixty years that the valley's fields have become underutilized so that much of our food comes from thousands of miles away, an unsustainable situation. Our goal is to help develop relationships between farmers, consumers, restaurants, and grocers and other resources so that gradually the Verde Valley will become more self-sustaining.
Each year we tell the stories of some extraordinary individuals, leaders of courage, wisdom and vision. They help people around them to care for each other and reconnect families and communities with the earth and living creatures.
Gardeners of the Spirit are people of courage and vision. Through creating gardens and art, they help us to grow and respect our relationships. They rebuild family and community and reconnect us to ourselves, to one another and to the earth. By their example, Gardeners of the Spirit re-awaken our innate compassion for children, for our own beauty and the beauty of this Earth.
When one creates a garden, one defines a sacred space that becomes a place for nurturing life. The human interaction with the forces of nature in a garden setting evoke the creative spirit. Gardens are made for nourishment and beauty. Art is a human effort to participate in creation and to express beauty and life. Gardens for Humanity was founded on the basis of this relationship of art and gardens, and it continues to be a guiding principle.
March 24-April 1, 2012.
Click here for schedule.
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