What a fantastic time we had at Gouge Elementary in Bakersville, NC. The sun was shining, the air was warm and we had 120 Germination Corps. members making up the biggest Plant Parade to date! We made our way with flags, vegetable puppets, headbands, costumes, music float, bean tambourines, songs and 120 plant backpacks to the 4-H garden to plant the baby plants in the ground. This was the longest and most colorful walking garden this town has ever seen! Thanks to all involved!
More pictures as I receive them…I was running up and down the parade line, so all my action shots are just that, in action!
This past weekend, we were at the Yancy County Library, holding a making event, a little teach-in and build of some plant backpacks and shoulder bags. Last Friday we had some great helpers at the Collaboaratory making giant vegetables for our Plant Backpack parades. This is Emily, below, a graduate of University of Michigan, School of Art and Design. She moved down to Asheville after she graduated, and drove out to help paint a giant carrot. It was a super day at the gallery!
Next, we took the giant vegetables to the Yancy County Library to dress up their stairwell and lead visitors to the making workshop that we help last Saturday. Many people showed up to make a Plant Backpack.
This great member of Germindation Corps., Mira, had never sewn before she came into the Library last weekend. She is now an accomplished bag maker. She planted a pepper and a cabbage her bag, and got a water bottle to hydrate herself and water her plant.
These ladies were from the local 4-H group and they run a radio show on the local radio station too!
People are great! Here is another volunteer from the Dig In! Yancy garden, making a few bag fronts.
Cutting out the all-important 3 leafed sprout of the Germination Corps.
John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn head up the information table and told people about the project as well as spread word of their garden, Dig In! Yancy Community Garden and project Empty Bowls that has really taken off as a way to raise money for feed people in the community. It has been great to grow the project with them and bring The Germination Corps. to Yancy and Mitchel Counties to spread the word of food sharing, food security and sustainable growing to feed the community.
The larger parade seemed to get rained out at the garden, but we persevered with our own mini parade.
Update from our Germination Corps. correspondent Mark Boyd, on this past weekend in North Carolina:
We built some stuff (plant backpacks & giant vegetable puppets), hauled over to the Yancey County library, built a little more stuff (plant backpacks & shoulder bags) and did a little teaching and informing on the the fly (food security and accessibility, how and why to grow your own, where to distribute the extra to share, recycling and reuse, community gardening), THEN hauled on over to Dig In Yancey! for our first garden event. The weather graced us with a break in the rains so we could take a few pictures and march around the garden
This coming week Germination Corps spreads like kudzu into the schools to work with 120 elementary school kids! Each child will receive a plant shoulder bag generously fabricated and donated by Quality Plus Apparel (many thanks!) based on Jessica’s original design. (Only in a small tight knit community would a local manufacturer step up and provide such a generous donation. This is the power of neighbors helping neighbors!) We’ll then have a short teach-in about plant propagation, community gardens, and food security and sustainability. After that we’ll transplant seedlings (started with the assistance of the local ag extension service, more neighbors!) into the bags, then have a parade along the creekwalk to the site of the new 4H community garden. At the garden, we’ll transplant seedlings event. Here’s hoping for a sunny day!
And stay tuned, next Thursday we’re doing a big wrap up event at Dig In Yancey! during the afternoon. Details coming here soon.
If you are afar and don’t know Dig In! Yancy Community Garden, let me introduce you.
The Dig In! Yancey Community Garden was born one evening in 2009 when two friends – both activists for hunger relief – looked out over three acres of unused land belonging to one of them, and said…
“Gee – this field would be a great place for a Community Garden!”
In that moment, Dig In! was born. In April of 2010, ground was broken, and by June produce from the garden was being served in a local soup kitchen feeding almost 200 people each Monday.
In our first year we delivered over 2000 lbs of fresh vegetables to soup kitchens and other agencies in Yancey County. The 2012 growing season put us over the 9000 lb. mark. As community involvement grows, so will our production.
Germination Corps. will be having a field day at Dig In! this Saturday the 11th from 2-4 p.m. right after the Back Pack drop-in workshop at the Yancy County Public Library. Participants will be planting their backpacks with vegetable seedlings, and seeds. I will be demonstrating and building some vertical palate gardens and we will have some large puppet making and flag bearing to get ready for future Germination Corps. Plant Parades. We will even parade around the garden.
Come out and see what a beautiful and giving farm this is. It is also a destination for you WWOOFers out there.
We have been making plant backpacks out of every type of material here at the North Carolina residency, including used belts and old backpacks that get ripped up and recycled into the plant backpack pattern. A great deal of the fabric for this project in Yancy and Mitchell counties was donated by Glen Raven Technical Fabrics in Burnsville. They make things like Sunbrella and super fabrics for Jansport and the US forces. If you have any old backpacks or suitcases or belts that you would like to donate, bring them by the Green Plum gallery this week from 1-5 p.m. We can make them into a Germination Corps. Plant Backpack!
Here is the pattern table in the gallery workshop. You can see all the woven belts we found and are using for shoulder straps on the right. Old shopping bags work well for the pattern pieces.
Some kids-sized shoulder plant bags made with the Glen Raven donated fabric. The emblem of the Germination Corps., the three leafed sprout, is a necessary component of each bag and is a quick identifier of the project.
Plant Backpacks Coming this May to Yancy County, North Carolina and the Penland area!
Germination Corps. is an engagement art project I conceived of and started at a residency in Philadelphia at The Philadelphia Art Hotel, in the summer of 2010. It takes the idea of our nomadic existence and examines humans’ relationship with caring for the plants we eat and live with. I developed Plant Backpacks to solve problems of the urban neighborhood of Kensington, Philadelphia, an area with much brown space.
Plant Backpacks in Philly
Plants are planted in backpacks and then paraded through town, creating a mobile garden, that connects different green spaces like urban community farms in the area.
It teaches kids and adults to care for a plant much like caring for an egg or a sack of flour as if it were a baby in home-ec class. This mobile garden will grow this summer as I make plant backpacks with the community of rural North Carolina. Stay tuned to see how this project adapts itself to a rural and close-knit environment.