All Nations Wellness Center Healing Garden
CURRENT COORDINATION & PROJECT GOALS – 2021:
- All Nations Health and Wellness was open on a limited schedule during 2020, limiting the hours the garden was open during this time for community access. The five beds in the small garden were cover cropped in 2020, and then planted in the spring and summer of 2021 with chiles, mint, marigolds, tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes. Progress on the expansion design (on the southeastern side of the garden) has resumed in 2021. Permaculture funds have purchased 7 or 8 beds for the expansion, soil, and additional tools.
- Through DDF funds and funds from Presbyterian Healthcare Systems, there has been an additional opportunity to build a shade structure over the southeastern expansion area in fall of 2021 and remove asphalt, (as was shown in the original design).
- The International District Healthy Communities Coalition (IDHCC) and community volunteers repaired and replaced some of the garden beds that were falling apart for preparation for next growing season beginning in March 2021.
- One of the goals for 2021 has been to establish and form stronger networks and collaborations with other like partners in the International District area. The Community Garden project at First Nations has been trying to figure out a way to build on partnerships like the Traditional Wellness and Healing Program at First Nations, with the goal of creating a place for healing and to have workshops focused on using the Native Navajo Philosophy of Life in referring to the importance of growing and gardening.
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS – 2020:
- The First Nations Community HealthSource Community Garden project was impacted by Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic all activities were halted for until recently, when it changed to having 3 people or less with facemasks and practicing social distancing. Despite the impact of Covid-19 the All Nations Wellness and Healing Center continued growing vegetables and herbs in the community garden. The kitchen at the Wellness Center continued to incorporate what was growing outside in the garden into the daily meals of the clients who came to eat at the center. The Wellness Center added an additional workshop at the beginning in April 2020 with the Traditional Wellness & Healing program at First Nations. Plans are being developed for another upcoming virtual session in March or April 2021.
- The All Nations Wellness & Healing Center is looking forward to expanding their garden in 2021. They have a section on the south side of the Wellness Center that will include additional garden beds to plant more vegetables and herbs.
- Another upcoming issue is water use and consumption when the garden expansion begins. It’s going to be a challenge getting an irrigation system to the expanded gardening area. The Wellness Center is looking forward to working with the community and other project partners to develop creative solutions of how to get water to the expanded area.
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS – 2019:
- All Nations received a grant several years ago which was used to create the current garden beds and install the fencing and storage shed. There are 5 garden beds but their capacity is not sufficient to supplement or add to the kitchen’s output.
- First Nations owns the adjacent vacant lot and building. The goal is to expand the building services in addition to any garden expansion at the site. This expansion is contingent on funds which have not been fully identified at this time.
- Hundreds of community members come to the community for weekly programs. Weekly programs such as the Indigenous Plate Program offer opportunities to connect the food grown in the garden directly with the community All Nations Serves. Expanding the garden will allow for greater community participation and increased food production for ANWHC’s community programs.
- All Nations has a youth mentoring program that could be incorporated into the program.
- Key considerations include growing quality produce and integrating traditional and cultural values among Native Americans into the project.
- Site security and access control is crucial. The existing fence will need to be expanded to secure the site perimeter.
- In addition to garden space and family and cultural oriented amenities, other needs include showers, washing machines/dryers, larger food service area, communal space, increased job training and health services.