According to Alexa (9), “We didn’t just build a garden, we built a community”. She is so right. The Kid’s Vegies on the Verge is still going strong and is leading to all sorts of spin offs.
On the last day of school for Term 3, over 30 people came for a chicken burger night at the garden. The kids (with help from parents) planned who would supply what and helped prepare the food. The burgers were $4; $2 for kids from garden, or $0 (as the sign said) for kids from the garden who also supplied some of the food.
They collected the money and served up the food (bread rolls, free range chicken breasts, onion, lettuce, rocket, tomato, carrot, cucumber, cheese, parsley, chives and various sauces; zucchini cake and water) but seemed to disappear for much of the clean-up.
The following week we had a street garage sale (suggested by another mum) with seven households de-cluttering their lives a bit. The kids from the garden sold homemade lemonade (they helped make the day before) and jam drops provided by another parent to bring in some cash for the garden. To be honest, none of us sold all that much (we probably didn’t advertise it all that well) but it was a great social event and they made $99.30 on the lemonade stall!
Last night eight of the girls slept in a tent set up in the backyard of one of our neighbours. Before they went to bed some of the parents joined them for chicken burgers, roasted marshmallows, and a chat around a fire in the back yard. A couple of them were playing handball in our drive at 5:30 this morning!
We continue to see lots of kids and they are playing heaps more with each other. It is mainly the girls aged 6 – 12 who seem to be making significant friendships. There is chasey in the garden (on the stepping stones), lots of handball, dress-ups and plenty of coming and going.
Apart from watering, the kids aren’t doing much work in the garden, and without Cathy it would be really suffering. At the same time, it is quite common to see someone just hanging out in the garden (particularly the tee-pee for the beans). The other day our girls out and when we left to pick them up, there were four kids playing in the garden.
The garden itself is going OK. Unfortunately the organic soil we bought for the raised garden bed wasn’t as good as we had been led to believe so Cathy has been trying to improve it by adding compost and manures.
These school holidays have been quite different for Jasmine and Alexa. Although we haven’t been away, they’ve had a great time playing with other kids in the street. In terms of community building the Kids’ Vegies on the Verge is easily exceeding our expectations.
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