Pioneer student planting in the garden

Gardening Launch!

We launched our Garden of Miracles this week – it was a dream. We started with a class of 8 – 11 year old boys who are quite active and to watch them interacting, planning, gardening together with such calm and peace was AMAZING. The teachers were awe struck at the change in the students behavior – we are more convinced than ever that gardening is such a healing therapy for at risk youth. ( or for anyone) Anna(flawless intern) and I have been there everyday and it has been so rewarding and exciting. This is my favorite photo –
Panzee garden label

Below is a note that Tara Dixon our board member wrote to the other board members after her visit to Pioneer Special School to launch the gardening program.

Dear all-
I got back to NY last night from a whirlwind visit to Portland where I fell in love with the city.
Monday I had the opportunity to help out with the start of the Flawless Garden of Miracles. We started our day by going around to nurseries in the area that had donated things to grow to Flawless. It was hysterical to see J9, myself and Anna (flawless intern) in J9′s car with flats of tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash, strawberries and flowers. We arrived at The Pioneer School and we were greeted by several familiar faces from the video. It was so amazing to be there in person. Lauren Harkness was there already working with some students and teachers on clearing the last of the sand from the former sand box. Next, one of the teachers with horticultural experience, David, came out to talk about a plan for the garden. It was great to see collaborative problem solving in action and the actual plan of where the footpaths would go came from a very willful child, Jake. The next step was to draw the two main path’s in the dirt making a + sign. The children worked very hard carving out the lines in the dirt. The next step was tilling the earth so that the plants’ roots would have a chance to grow deeper. It was so rewarding to be working side by side with these children and seeing them work so hard. Every one was anxious to pour the topsoil but first two more paths were drawn so the overall plan of the garden looks like a * in a square. Then came many trips to the sink with brightly colored watering cans to wet the dirt. At one point a boy named Jim who had been having a tough day came up to me and said, “Are you a plant? Do you need some water?” I made a silly pose like a flower and we both laughed. While working it was incredible to see the staff with the children. They are so patient and direct and such amazing role models. It was wonderful to see their enthusiasm for the project too. At the end of the day we watered all the plants. I was leaving the next morning but Janine told me that they returned to do the planting and it looks amazing.

I couldn’t help but reflect on Seanog several times through out the day. The Flawless Garden of Miracles in his honor has commenced. Kids at risk are working in the dirt and seeing the hope of planting something and seeing it grow and flourish.
Much Love

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