Thursday, September 27, 2012


On the 4th Saturday of every month, the Americana Community Center holds a special Volunteer day from 10 am to 2 pm. Throughout every month, the Americana Community Garden receives many volunteers. (Thus far this year, we've had the luck of receiving over 7000 hours of community service in our garden and on our campus.) We hold the monthly volunteer day so that volunteers can get to know one another and possibly get to know some of our gardeners.

Elliot Sternberg and Josh Drake put in order all them corn stalks  and turn the compost

This past Saturday, we were joined by Elliot Sternberg, Josh Drake, Rebecca Katz, Colleen Stewart, Caitlin Brown, Emily Benken, Zach and Elijah McKenzi.

We picked up trash, mulched garden pathways, turned the compost, tilled, planted, and mulched cover crop seed donated to us by Fresh Start Growers Supply. We plant a winter cover crop so that the cold winter won't harden the soil, and whatever crops grow in the winter will be chopped and incorporated into the soil during the spring adding a great many nutrients.
(Read more about the uses of cover crop here and here)

Caitlin Brown and Emily Benken weed our mulched paths

Colleen Stewart, her first time on a tiller

The author, proud of this new machine

Sowing the cover crop seed
For cover crop we use a mix of winter wheat, vetch, and red clover

Thanks to our volunteers!
Our Next Volunteer Day will be on OCTOBER 27th from 10 am to 2 pm and will coincide with a Brightside Service Day at the Americana! Do Come!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Back in April, fundraising with the Americana Kids at the Flea Off Market, Ron Mikulak from the Courier Journal approached me with an idea to write a story about international cuisine and community gardens. He wanted to provide Louisville with some of the international recipes.

We had tried a similar story last year, but the American adherence to recipe is foreign to the international community. Last year, when asked how many hot peppers are used in a particular recipe, one gardener responded, “if you like it hot, lots of pepper. If you don’t like it hot, don’t use many hot peppers.” Gardeners did not know how many ounces of roselle they were using in a dish, but they know how much to use.

I suggested to Ron that he come down to the Americana and we cook and he writes. It was a thrilling evening. Check out the article.

Meeting At The Garden

We’ll be having a work day on Saturday, September 22nd

We’re trying something new at the Americana gardens, a definite, open volunteer day once a month. For now, its once a month. 

Hopefully, we’ll see plenty of attendance and possibly even have them once a week in the future.

We’ll be cooking up a lunch, with as many vegetables from our gardens as we can.

It’ll be your chance to get to know our gardeners and maybe even learn a little something.


Farmers from all over the world, food from the neighborhood.

We’re still calling it the Bluegrass Global Growers Market, but it sure is a mouthful. Next year, we’ll be having a contest to rename our farmers market, so start coming up with ideas now.

Americana operates the farmers market in partnership with the RAPP program. Check them out! Kentucky RAPP

The market is more successful than ever with more clients buying the most local produce and more growers selling than last year. We are holding the market on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 9 pm allowing for the many ESL, Citizenship Class, Family Education, and GED students at the Americana to buy fresh produce on their way out of class.

Our growers:
Simon Mwendepeke, Halima Muya, Habiba Mohammed, Jacqueline Nywandwe, Ku Ku, Paw Shell.

We’re currently selling peppers (hot and sweet), tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, collards, kale, and the international specialty roselle.

If you haven’t had roselle, you’re missing out. Roselle

                   WE TAKE EBT! So come on down. We are 
                      one of the only markets in town to do so. 

Kids Garden

Planting mustard seeds

Kids Garden program was better than ever this summer.

With the help of Bellarmine student volunteers, we transformed the Kids Garden space in late May to provide plenty of space in the Kids Garden.

Planting radish seed
With the help of our Garden Intern Lindsey Samotis, we created our first Kids Garden Curriculum which we’ll use for years to come.

Me:       Kids! What do all plants need to grow?
Kids:     Soil, Water, Sun!

We built good soil composting, we planted seeds, we watered seeds, we tended plants, we harvested, we dried, we ate.

Planting, Harvesting, Preserving, Eating

We're continuing Kids Garden programming into the fall this year             through the new Garden Club. Interested students will work in the gardens and all over campus on Thursday afternoon learning about the environment.
Planting carrot seeds amongst the tomatoes

Kids build drying rack to preserve herbs
from the garden

Preparing basil leaves before making pesto


Muna taking a water break amongst the sunflowers

Each year, the organization KentuckianaWorks! pays for the employment of teens to work for non-profits all over the city of Louisville.

Our outdoor work crew was comprised of Muna Ibrahim, Julius Nijimbere, and Kle Po, and we were lucky to have them. These three worked through the 100 degree weather we had that seemed to last all of July mowing Americana’s enormous lawn, weeding, watering, and pruning.

If you need to hire anyone, I recommend these kids.

Kle Po trying to fix our poor old lawn mower