Nature Nurture Farmacy
The Nature Nurture Farmacy (NNF), a non-profit supporting the Winlock Community Garden in Winlock, Washington, has big plans to bring garden-based learning to local students. With the help of a 2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grant, NFF is expanding their already impressive garden site and creating opportunities for students to garden at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2019, Dr. Alicia Spalding, leader of NFF, helped found the Winlock Community Garden with the intention of having it serve as an educational space for students in the local school district. To help guide the development and growth of the garden, Dr. Spalding drafted a 3-year plan with the end goal of creating an one-acre permaculture garden and food forest that includes vegetables, fruits, herbs, and pollinator plants. “We currently have a small herbal plot with culinary and medicinal herbs including mints, rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, and bee balm,” shares Dr. Spalding. “Our perennial fruits include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and grapes. In our orchard we planted in November we have a wide variety of fruiting trees including pears, apples, peaches, plums, and figs. And some of our perennial vegetables include artichokes, sunchokes, and asparagus.” Throughout the summer, community members can visit the garden to glean produce and at the end of the week anything not harvested will be taken to a nearby food bank.
While the Winlock Community Garden is already well on its way, Dr. Spalding has concrete plans for their Gro More Good Grassroots Grant funds. “We will purchase soil, wood chips and other garden amendments needed to fill our new raised beds that have been built by Winlock High’s woodshop classes,” she shares. “We will also be purchasing hog panels and t-posts to fence off our new food forest that we planted in November and to build arches and trellises for other plants in the garden.”
Though Covid-19 has impacted the implementation of some of her spring plans, Dr. Spalding notes that community volunteers have been coming to the Winlock Community Garden to help plant and maintain the space. “Individuals are putting their own time and effort into our community garden, which is incredibly inspiring” she says.
Beyond ensuring that the garden stays up and running despite the pandemic, Dr. Spalding has also focused on efforts to bring gardening to students, especially earlier in the spring when Washington state was operating under “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders. In early May, NNF distributed take-home garden kits to 500 Winlock School District students. These kits included soil, 12 varieties of seeds, and a gardening manual with growing tips and educational activities. Dr. Spalding notes the garden kits wouldn’t have been possible without the outpouring community support for this project. “Since the kids can’t come to the garden, we are bringing the garden to them.”