Great Workday in Koshland Garden

9.20.14-KP Workday-IHS-BEETS_IMG_8348On Saturday, September 20, 2014 CommunityGrows staff Adrian Almquist, Serena Padilla, Miya Yung, Kelly ErnstFriedman and Barbara Wenger, were joined by our BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens), and another great group of youth from International High School for a workday in Koshland Garden. A number of terrific community volunteers joined us as well. We were also honored to have two CommunityGrows Advisory Board members, Barb Fujimoto and Casey Johnson stop by and pitch in. 
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We weeded, laid straw mulch, planted and watered the garden. It was an amazing transformation thanks to over 25 youth and others participating. Towards the end of the event our good friend Wendy Johnson, a master gardener from Green Gulch Farm and resident garden teacher at the Indian Valley Organic Farm & Garden, brought us plants and a tree to grace the garden. One plant was a Hopi Black Dye Sunflower. The seeds of the plant are used by Native Americans for dyeing wool and basketry. The plant imparts a color-fast light purple. Heirloom variety from Hopi Land, an oil, food, and dye plant that has its roots in ancient prehistory. One of the first domesticated plants, archaeological evidence points to the middle archaic period for the first human harboring of sunflower. Native americans ground the seeds and boiled, then skimmed the oil. In native culture, vegetable oil is considered one of the most precious of substances. Also, the seeds are very good for eating, and the sprouts are potently delicious and healing to digestive woes.
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Wendy works at the Indian Valley Organic Farm & Garden in Marin, and talked about the unusual plants grown there. She has also been fortunate to have many Native American students who are learning about their culture and the land. After Wendy told us about the farm and the plants, she invited everyone up this fall to experience the farm.
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While she was talking a Cooper’s Hawk swooped down on our circle and flew up to a redwood tree nearby. The hawk has been a resident in our neighborhood for a few years. It is always magnificent to see him! A wonderful day with many memorable experiences.
For many more photos see our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.