Harvesting Artists at Memorial Garden (Part 3)

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)


“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

Harvesting Artists at Memorial Garden (Part 1)

“I sing I believe I see my community and I love all I see”

-Naisim, Memorial Garden Sprout

What is beautiful about the inside of an onion? How do patterns grow organically in our garden? What does a cinquain poem have to do with a cicada? These are a few of the questions that youth at the Memorial Garden Kid’s Club explored this year as they investigated art and environment together. Finding inspiration in a bug, a carrot or a friend is a daily occurrence at the garden, and on each day the young gardeners molded words, clay, seeds, soil and water into expressions of their unique visions. From the first warm days of spring to scorching summer afternoons to the blustery fall, art guided Memorial Garden Sprouts and Veggie Kids through their exploration of their garden and their community.

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Seasons Drawing by Emani Morris
Memorial Garden VeggieKid

Dyube is one of the most dedicated VeggieKids and comes weekly to the garden with his two younger brothers in tow. While he often maintains a tough exterior he is an enthusiastic and creative participant in garden activities. So it comes as no surprise that with only an empty water cooler and two hands he transformed an everyday journaling activity into a full blown garden poetry slam. One early summer day when the Juneberries were ripe and the plants in our plots had turned from sprouts to full plants, we gathered after an afternoon of watering and weeding to reflect on the garden. While we were preparing to journal and discussing different types of poems, Dyube shared that he had learned about acrostic poetry in school and taught the other kids how to write their own. Some preferred to write free verse or rhyming poetry but when it came time to share our work, Dyube took to the drums with his brother Lavon and created a beat to accompany each young poet’s words. Under the shade of a tree and the June breeze we listened to words and drum beats blend together as they spilled into the streets and shared with the neighborhood a love and appreciation for their garden.

(Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3!)

– Addie Ansell, UTC Program Staff