Monday, October 26, 2009

Check out this great video from The Point, a TGC site in South Bronx, New York!

Pinchbeck Elementary School, New TGC Partner School!

Monday, October 19, 2009

We are extremely happy when parents choose to get involved in The Growing Connection because their efforts are usually pivotal to the program’s success. For instance, Colonial Trail Elementary School’s effort to incorporate TGC into their 4th grade curriculum was spearheaded by Martie Byrum, a parent of a Colonial Trail Elementary School student. Ms. Byrum also ensured the program's financial sustainability by organizing fundraisers and getting local businesses involved in the project.

Now, as a result of the Colonial Trail’s success with TGC, it is being used as a model for other schools in Virginia. In fact, the Henrico County Public Schools board was so impressed with Colonial Trail’s success that they decided to fund Pinchbeck Elementary School's TGC program in full this year!

We are obviously very happy that Pinchbeck Elementary has joined The Growing Connection. The EarthBox vegetable garden will be cultivated by Pinchbeck Elementary's fourth graders. The students’ activities in the garden will complement what they are learning in science, math and social studies. Pinchbeck’s fourth grade teachers have already developed lesson plans that use the garden to teach their students about soil, seeds, planting, climate, sun patterns and the seasons. The students are also looking forward to sharing their experiences with students from different regions and countries.

Five Year Anniversary CUCBA Partnership

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On September 30, 2009 The Growing Connection celebrated its five-year anniversary working with schools and communities in Mexico in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara’s Center for Life Science, Agriculture and Livestock (CUCBA). TGC currently has EarthBox vegetable garden sites throughout Jalisco, Chiapas and Mexico City.

CUCBA has become The Growing Connection’s main center for research on low-cost alternative substrates for the EarthBox and complementary technologies that enhance production. For example, much research has been done on using cocopeat (ground up coconut husks), volcanic rock, Jal (a porous stone native to Jalisco) and worm castings through worm composting in the EarthBox. They have also conducted crop rotation trials to examine how to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients in the EarthBox.

In addition to research, agronomists and community development specialists work closely with communities to provide on-going horticultural training and assistance to ensure that their EarthBox vegetable gardens are a success. One of these is the indigenous community of the Huichol in the mountains of the Western Sierra Madre in the northern part of the State of Jalisco. The Huichol people do not have the tradition of growing fresh leafy greens, but through TGC large vegetable gardens were planted using EarthBoxes. Within months of incorporating the leafy greens into their traditional dishes many skin ailments were eliminated from their communities.

CUCBA has also played an essential role in providing training to TGC partners in other Spanish-speaking countries, including the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Nicaragua. Due to the success of our partnership with CUCBA, we are now collaborating with dynamic companies such as Cisco and AMD in Mexico to integrate internet access with TGC’s horticultural activities.

We are very happy with what we have accomplished working with CUCBA and hope that we can achieve much more in the future. We would particularly like to thank Jose Sanchez and Blanca Alicia Bojorquez for their tireless commitment to TGC and the students throughout Mexico.