The Morris Teaching Garden!

The Morris Teaching Garden!

So, oh, my.

We did a thing =)

We so, so, so love being a part of this burnerverse, and always look for ways to participate.

One of the things that’s gone on the past five years or so, is a “Multi-Regional Summit” that has had programming, camping and fun stuff on a camping weekend in June. Many folks associated with the Morris have participated in some capacity for a few years, but this last year, the folks putting on the Summit tried to increase the quality and quantity of the programming. They polled the community to see what folks wanted and built A LOT of stuff to do based on that.

As part of that, the event was given the opportunity to review and decide on a Burner’s Without Border’s microgrant program for our region. Essentially, there were about a half a dozen or so groups who submitted proposals to be decided upon at the Summit. Here’s a pic of us at the Summit. It was a lot of fun to be a part of.

The folks who attended the Summit reviewed all the proposals and made recommendations on who should receive what.

At the time that the grant needed to be submitted, we had a fellow volunteering at the Morris who’s name is Chad, and he talked to Gemini and others about how Burners and our vision so much aligned with his own ideas and aspirations and he wanted to stick around and participate. Gemini told Chad he could do some good at the Morris by submitting for this grant to help us build a teaching garden. We like to give people ideas about ways they can contribute without being too prescriptive, and Chad really took the bull by the horns!

With literally, like three days notice, he pulled together all the information and submitted the grant.

The Morris was selected as one of the recipients of the grant, and we were thrilled!

As often happens with the transient nature of Burner’s and folks in general, especially in a town like Reno, Chad moved on and we needed someone else to take up the banner of administering the garden and getting going. There is definitely a cycle to life at the Morris. The general cycle includes chaos and perpetual change, but at certain times of the year, things are more transitional and one never knows when folks will move on and things get shaken up for awhile. After Burning Man is one of those times…

We stalled. Around October, someone who lived with us last year, Paisly, came back and we asked her to head up the Garden Project. She took care of the garden the prior year, it was a happy accident that she wanted to come back and stay for a bit. It worked out awesome! We took a geodesic dome that we used over the Summer as a hang out space and retrofitted it with thick plastic and made a home for our little Winter project, now.

We cut water barrels in half that had been left from last Burning Man Season, got good, organic soil, and started seedlings. Now, another character who currently calls the Morris home, and is one of our staff, Paint Chip, well, his mom is quite the gardener in Idaho, and she was awesome enough to gift us a lot of heirloom, organic seeds. And so it began….

Before we knew it, first life was budding in our oasis

It was super cool! Everyone who came for a tour, we’d tell them about the garden and show them if they were interested. Since we have so many people come through, there’s always stuff to do, for folks who want to pitch in.

Here’s Paint Chip tending his babies

This is Paisly holding the first radish we harvested!

Now, our goal is to continue with this. We have had some pretty unrivaled snow in Reno this year, and we were sort of concerned if our setup would hold. It’s doing amazingly well.

Did you know that downtown Reno is a food desert? There are more than 90,000 people who live in the downtown Reno area, and there is NO access to affordable, fresh produce and food. Mini marts, pre-packaged, less than healthy choices are all there are.

We have formed an alliance with a local non-profit, called “On Common Ground, and we hope to be able to address this. There will be more coming in the next weeks, but this is enough for now.

Our grant was $500 and we spent it on the plastic to cover the dome, on organic soil, and other supplies needed to get the garden going. We are sometimes the worst at telling our own story and letting folks know what we are up to. The last three years, at least, we have tabled at Reno Earth Day and given away soil, worms one year, and marigolds. We let children (with the permission of their parents) assemble their own “helping plant” to take home, and hope we got to teach some folks how easy it can be to grow.

That said, it truly takes a village and many, many people have helped with the Morris garden along the way. It started with Vision’s vision and continues now. Who knows what the future will bring, but we know for at least the foreseeable future it will have snow peas, Winter lettuce, fresh herbs and other awesome stuff in it!

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