Journey Garden has another successful yearThe Journey Garden Program (babaamaadiziwin gitigaan) is a six-week summer program that teaches American Indian students about gardening, college, health careers, journaling, community, Ojibwe language, elder mentorship, building, art and cooking.
The Journey Garden Program (babaamaadiziwin gitigaan) is a six-week summer program that teaches American Indian students about gardening, college, health careers, journaling, community, Ojibwe language, elder mentorship, building, art and cooking.
This summer’s program started out with an opening ceremony. By the end of the program, the students helped prepare the meal for the closing ceremony.
Throughout the six-week program, students participated in field trips and learned from presenters helping them gain an understanding about college, health careers, and team building. During the program, students were encouraged to write daily in their journals about phonology, the plant of the day, an Ojibwe word, and uses for the plant and reflect on what was taught while participating in camp.
Master Gardener for the program, Francois Medion, helped students build two new raised garden beds this summer and taught them how to start, establish and maintain a vegetable garden. He also taught students how to cook his famous 18-hour bread.
Julius Salinas, a substitute teacher and after-school activity leader for the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, worked with students building a three-bin compost, located between the Journey Garden and the Bimaaji’idiwin Ojibwe Garden behind the school.
Community members from divisions of the Fond du Lac Reservation were asked to come in and work with students. Shannon Judd, environmental outreach coordinator, taught students about making a recipe to use in salads and can use to repel bugs. Cassie Diver, planning researcher and Gitigaan program, donated seeds to the program. Amber Ahonen, health educator, came in during lunchtime and taught students how to make a healthy lunch. Maryanne Blacketter, elder mentor for the past three years, helped students create garden art and had a knack for weaving in her own wisdom and teachings into the fun art projects. Dawn LaPrairie, Ojibwe language teacher, taught Ojibwemowin. The Fond du Lac Conservation Department donated venison (waawaashkeshi-wiiyass) for the closing feast.
This year, students planted vegetables in their own garden plot, tended to it throughout the growing season, and harvested their garden space at the end of the season. Students also received a stipend and transportation to and from the program.
The Journey Program started in June 2008. Dr. Joy Dorsher and Anna Wirta, from the Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH) at the University of Minnesota Medical School, worked on the Journey Garden project and received money to fund the program. In 2009 and 2010, the Journey Garden program was funded by the Northland Foundation. In the summer in 2011, the program was funded by N.A.R.C.H. (Native American Research Center for Health) with the help of Marilyn Grover and Crystal Greensky.
Some of the items planted this season included tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, broccoli, winter squash, summer squash, corn, beans, apple, pears, cherry, ginkgo, blueberries, honeyberries, June berry, elder berry, goose berry, fruit trees, onions, cabbage, gourds, cucumbers, parsley, basil, paragon, nasturtiums, pansies, gaillardia, carrots, beets, grapes, sorghum, watermelons and cantaloupe.
Some previously established plants in the garden include: sweet grass (wiingashk), strawberries, chives, plum trees, and June berries.
Student participants came from the Fond du Lac Reservation, Cloquet and Duluth communities.
There were many people involved in the program to help make it a success, including the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School and Transportation Department, Min No Aya Win Human Services, Fond du Lac Tribal Council, Gitigaan Program, FDL Conservation, FDL Environmental Outreach, FDLTCC, Journey Garden staff and students.