North Idaho College Foundation Awards Grant to Roots Gathering Garden

North Idaho College Foundation Awards Grant to Roots Gathering Garden

Santa Clause came early this week to the Community Roots Gathering Garden on the North Idaho College Campus.  In partnership with Chef Rick Schultz and the college’s Culinary Arts Program, the garden will receive approximately $6,900 from the North Idaho College Foundation.  The foundation’s Executive Director, Rayelle Anderson, made the announcement December 11th at the Foundation’s Grants Announcement Ceremony.

Kootenai Environmental Alliance is in its second year of a three year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with North Idaho College to transform the old mill site swale along the education corridor into an organic gardening and urban farming education center.  The sorely depleted ground has posed many challenges, but in 2013 a dedicated group of volunteers made noticeable progress in bringing the site to life.  The crowning accomplishment was the erection of a 20’ x 40’ greenhouse that will help extend the growing season.

The funding from the NIC Foundation will go towards completing infrastructure the greenhouse needs to expand production such as irrigation, electricity and plant propagation materials.  This build out will help to maximize production in order to provide herbs and vegetables for the Culinary Arts Program.  The grant will also fund a veggie washing station and an outdoor cooking and picnic area for instructors, students and volunteers to utilize.  Students will have the opportunity to learn how to grow, harvest, clean and process the produce while fulfilling required internship hours in their field.

The Associated Students of North Idaho College (ASNIC) also endorsed the project’s funding request.  They support the Gathering Garden as a “hands-on way to learn about organic growing and permaculture design principles.”  ASNIC wants the garden to be a place where students can gather to work and share time together (not to mention good food) while learning about sustainability and environmental health.

In 2014 you can expect to see more than vegetables emerging from the ground. Thanks again to the NIC Foundation, art instructor Michael Horswill and his students will be building 12 sculpture platforms at the Roots Gathering Garden.  This will provide a venue for rotating installations by NIC art students and give the community another reason to stop by and see “what’s up.”  From veggies to feed the body and art to feed the soul, the Gathering Garden is sure to become a community hub of joyful work and celebration.

KEA extends a big THANK YOU to the NIC Foundation for their generous support. Just like Santa hitching up the reindeer and taking to the skies, it looks like the Gathering Garden has achieved “lift-off.”

We look forward to many more exciting projects at the garden in 2014 and beyond.

Submitted by Janet Torline, KEA Board President

One Response

  1. This is such an exciting project. Expanding Roots at NIC is a potent way to educate youth and the community about the myriad issues surrounding the sources of our food. Way to go KEA and much gratitude to the NIC Foundations for its foresight!

Leave a Reply