Urban Tree Connection

Ward Winter Cooking Program!

In Kids Programs on March 4, 2014 at 23:57

It’s another Monday afternoon and Q, Angel, and I have set up cutting boards and vegetables in the newly renovated basement kitchen of Ward AME church, now ready for our weekly children’s cooking program.


The Ward kitchen!

Today we have a peanut theme to accompany a lesson on George Washington Carver. We are making peanut butter, and peanut bars from one of the 105 peanut recipes Carver published in his bulletin to promote the nitrogen-restoring crop among rural growers. Q works with a few kids to add a small amount of salt, honey, and peanut oil, and they watch as the peanuts turn to a familiar store product in the food processor. The rest of us takes turns cutting apples, celery and bananas. After grinding the peanuts and making the dough for the bars, everyone molds their own shapes, and the snakes, suns, and squares go into the oven.


Shalise already knew we’d be cooking with peanuts when we first picked the kids up from the Martha Washington afterschool program a block away, and Q said cryptically, “we’re making something out of a plant that became popular because of a really famous black farmer dude.”

Image“Oh, peanuts.” She said. “Great, I hate those.” But by the time it comes to eating them she has changed her mind, and is hording the bowl of apples for dipping before Angel nods to her to pass it along, and pay attention to the section of the Carver biography that Preece is reading out loud.

Inventing over 300 products from peanuts— including insulation, antiseptics, and wall board— and teaching rural farmers best growing practices through the mobile Jessup Wagon, Carter embodies the creativity, ingenuity, and connectivity that we admire in urban farmers today!



Kids harvest greens from the 43rd Street Community garden in the fall. Everyone’s excited to return outdoors this spring, and grow some food to cook!

Angel, the block captain on 43rd street and Ward AME member, partners with us to run this program. Her two sons and nephews are joining today, the older insisting that the younger can read the words on the page, to have us be patient. Angel has been instrumental in setting up the two gardens now next to Ward and across the street, and the kids always respond to her energy, sense of humor, and nurturing guidance in the kitchen and the garden!

Harvesting Artists at Memorial Garden (Part 3)

In Kids Programs on December 19, 2013 at 20:36

DSC_0213When  growing food or creating art, “creative restrictions don’t go together” says Que McCall, one of UTC’s dedicated Garden Educators, co-coordinator of Memorial Garden’s VeggieKids program for youth 10-13 and a poet himself. This belief in artistic invention without borders shines through in the beautiful poems crafted in a workshop that he and Jasmine Hamilton, co-coordinator of VeggieKids at Memorial, led this fall. After a year of hard work the young leaders of Memorial mused on subjects such as their communities, the landscape, love and bugs in four or five different poetry forms. Dimantes, ciquains, free verse and haiku all provided the platform for VeggieKids to share and highlight the voices and visions of the garden. And as with all artists, their works speak for themselves:

I’m good your good.

I’m bug your bug we all bugs.

I love you. You love you. We in Love.

I’m you. Your me. We are each other.

Bugs is life and life is bugs.

-Bryniah Rucker

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Worm Experiment by Rain Wilson, Veggie Kid


Mother Natures





God’s Creation

-Haneeyah McMillan









-Tiana Grant


Bugs are sweet

bugs are nice

they help us

mostly in our life.

Sting sting Buzz Buzz 

love love

-Naisim Sayers

Addie with the Memorial Garden Program kids

Addie with the Memorial Garden Program kids

- Addie Ansell, UTC Memorial Garden Coordinator

Harvesting Artists at Memorial Garden (Part 2)

In Kids Programs on December 5, 2013 at 19:58


“Love” by Anthony Cassel,  Memorial Garden Sprout

That warm day in June seemed far away from the cold Saturday in March when seven Memorial Garden Kids bundled up to travel to the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA. Nestled in the woods, the CAC was an exciting and inspiring space to visit, explore a new natural setting and learn from Paul, Bob and Drew, three energetic art instructors. Using a pepper’s curve and the spikes of an artichoke youth created designs that were incorporated into Drew and Bob’s large scale mural design. Over the two days we spent most our time engaged with art creating imprints in clay to design beautiful tiles creating designs with fractals in pinecones, leaves, shells and lace.

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Yassin and Mikai creating slabs of clay

Two weeks later, as the ground had thawed at the Memorial Garden and we planted the first seeds, we returned to the CAC to finish and glaze our tiles and continue exploring the ecosystems nearby. By April the tiles were complete and it was the CAC’s turn to visit our garden and farm, where Memorial Gardener Sprouts worked with volunteers to paint the shed and install their original tiles into a mosaic that brightened has brighten the farm since!

(Part 3, the final installment, to follow!)

- Addie Ansell, UTC Programs Staff


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