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In 2012 KEA partnered with North Idaho College to restore a degraded piece of land, along the education corridor, to environmental health and productivity. The chosen site was the location of an old logging mill. Restoring vitality, transforming dirt to soil, and nurturing new growth is a short historical narrative covering just over 5 years.
The Gathering Garden is named in reference to the site’s original use as a gathering spot for the indigenous people who came to trade, dance, sing, share food and celebrate their extended family and tribal relations. The essence of that spirit remains alive and well on the site today.
Heart and inspiration came from belief in food as medicine and that human health is tied inexorably to environmental health. Hope comes from knowing that we can adapt and sustain and that together we are better.

 


Binding concepts


Inclusive

The Gathering Garden is welcoming and encourages belonging and sharing. Community workdays are scheduled regularly throughout the summer; the Steering Committee meets quarterly and is open to those who choose to lead collegially and collectively.

Integrative

Disciplines, historically separate, intertwine at the Gathering Garden. The obvious horticulture melds with visual art, music, photography, child development and other venues of wonder. Carpentry, welding, and aquaculture; plumbing and poetry add on to this expanding list of human endeavors working with nature.

Interactive

The Gathering Garden builds relationships. Seed to soil, sun to water, earth to sky, and people to people as we work together and learn each other’s stories. It’s exciting to experience the growing community of the garden. Significantly, the produce from the garden informs the NIC Culinary Arts program of local and seasonal opportunities for culinary creativity. Produce is distributed among CSA Workshare participants and drop-in volunteers and all remaining surplus is donated to the Food Bank.

Involving

How fun to see children, who have been creating and learning, bring their parents back to show what they have done. Intimacy develops as participants enjoy the vibrant changes that occur as everything grows.

Instructive

Skill sharing can be formal through scheduled workshops or it can be an informal experience shared with others working side by side.