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Carousel residents joined our garden efforts on campus.  We began with a several pumpkin plants that were planted by students this fall . . . and LOTS of weeds.  After weeding and weeding and weeding, our gardeners were ready to plant!  Small groups researched and planned what type of plants would work best in the garden and then traveled to Orner's Nursery to bring them home.  We previewed and asked questions at Orner's to find the perfect "matches" to place in our garden. Herbs (basil, spearmint, chives, parsley), vegetables (tomatoes, peppers), and perennials (roses, black-eyed Susan's, lamb's ear, butterfly bushes) were chosen for a perfect collected of edible beauty!

Yesterday, a small group from our Food Prep work crew traveled to The Longview Center for Agriculture in Collegeville.  This is a gorgeous farm established by Greener Partners with a mission to create healthier communities through food, farms, and education. On our tour, we walked through the farm fields and learned about crop rotation, the importance of organic farming, and the very encouraging "farm to table" movement. This was a perfect experience for our garden adventures and how we will use our herbs and vegetables when cooking meals for the apartment.  

We also met with a farm apprentice, John, who shared about his experience. John has traveled through varied experiences (from teaching to being a chef in New York City) and now has the opportunity to apprentice at Longview. For our group, this was a unique opportunity to ask questions about the apprenticeship model and how he experiences the farm "from day to night."  John shared that he is able to practice skills living in the farm house with other farmers that he will use going forward (residents in the farm house cook for each other on a weekly basis).  He discussed the farm practice with us (the role of organic farming and the nitrate debate, how animals on the farm mean that you have a healthy ecosystem, etc.) and answered questions we previewed in this week's class discussions. Our Carousel Connections ambassadors shared about their experience living in an apartment together and how they experience working on the campus of Haverford College.  Within this discussion, the group discovered  many commonalities between the apprentice experience and Carousel Connections training for independence. 

John shared, "If your goal is self-reliance, gardening is the way to go."  Given our experience with gardening on our apartment plot, this statement rings true! Planning, previewing, designing, collaborating, working with our hands, researching and learning, and creating beauty is all part of the garden process. The experience provides great opportunities filled with vibrant colors!



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