We have okra, Anaheim and bell peppers, kale, Thai basil, chard, butternut squash, garlic, collards and green beans. There are strawberry plants too if you want to dig them.
Here is some information on our garden followed by some general information on Niles Home for Children. We would love to have some volunteer help. In addition to our current garden we are also trying to restore an additional third acre plot that was a parking lot. I hope this information helps.
Marty Kraft 816-333-5663
Sustainability Aspects of Niles Garden
At Niles Home for Children
Organic Niles garden, while not certified organic we try to follow the requirements for an organic garden. Organic means that we use remedies for controlling pests that are much less harmful to the environment and less harmful to the people who eat our produce. We use substances like Bacillus thuragensis which is a bacteria that eats worms that eat plants or diatomatious earth, the silica shells of ancient diatoms whose razor sharp edges slice into the insects bodies and dry them out.
No-Till Beds It is said that a third of the world’s carbon could reside in the soil. The soil is a huge carbon sink that could hold the carbon from much of the carbon dioxide that is currently in the atmosphere causing global warming. By not tilling we prevent the soil bacteria from eating carbon rich substances like glomalin and releasing CO2. We also add glomalin producing micorizzal fungi to the roots of plants that form associations with these fungi.
Honoring the Real Gardeners In a handful of soil there are more organisms that there are people on earth. Through the interaction of these billions of “workers” soil is created and made healthy for plants. We must study the ecology of the soil in order to maximize the efforts of these tiny helpers. It behooves us to understand soil ecology and build and maintain healthy soil.
Nature Areas We have a large understory area where native plants are being reintroduced so our residents, staff and visitors can see natural ecosystems in action. We also have a prairie plant area that attracts butterflies and beneficial insects including pollinators that help our garden plants reproduce.
Solar Waterfall Although our pond is not a natural feature the attractive waterfall is powered by a solar panel atop our outdoor classroom gazebo. The panel demonstrates that power can be generated from sunlight, avoiding the use of fossil fuels.
Watering system Our watering system minimizes the use of water for growing food. We use a thick straw mulch that holds the moisture in the soil while creating a rich environment for our soil organisms to operate. We also use drip tape that lets water seep out under the mulch where it won’t evaporate into the air.
Food in a Food Desert Niles Home for Children is located in what has been called a food desert. In order to find fresh and nutritious food on sale, nearby residents must travel at least two miles. You can get liquor five blocks away. A high percentage of our neighbors must rely on public transportation so it is just not practical to shop where good food is available. To that end we have been offering a Tuesday afternoon market from 4 to 7 PM on our lawn at 1911 E 23rd Street.
We Demonstrate and Teach Sustainable Skills and Values Our residents, staff, volunteers and visitors get to see a working garden that produces food for the community passing on skills and knowledge that makes us all more secure. Niles Home for Children, through our garden, offers volunteer opportunities, tours, workshops and internships to people in the larger community as well as to our youthful residents. See videos of our garden at http://www.youtube.com/
NILES HOME FOR CHILDREN – CES II newsletter July 2010
Niles Home for Children is a licensed, accredited day and residential treatment facility located in the urban core of Kansas City, MO. Its 127-year history of caring for troubled and at-risk children began in 1833 when an African-American bricklayer named Samuel Eason opened his heart and his home to orphaned neighborhood children. Over the years, Niles has evolved from an informal orphanage to a formal treatment program for children and youth suffering from mental and emotional illness, but the concept of “Home” is still central to what we do. Today, Niles serves about 150 youth annually, in three programs:
· Safe, intensive Residential Treatment for children in severe crisis;
· Day Treatment/Alternative Education for children whose disruptive behavior keeps them from succeeding in conventional classrooms;
· Substance Abuse prevention or treatment, depending on previous use.
The children in Residential Treatment, ages 7-17, suffer from acute depression, bi-polar disorder, PTSD and other mental and emotional illnesses. Most often, they have been profoundly traumatized by abuse, neglect or abandonment, and many of them have been removed from their homes by the State for their own safety. With Niles’ multi-layered therapy and low staff-to-resident ratio, they can usually be released to a less restrictive environment in 3-12 months.
The Day Treatment children attend Niles Prep Behavior Management School in grades K-12. Typically, these youth are referred to Niles by public and charter schools because of their very disruptive behavior. Upon arrival, they are typically performing 2+ years below grade level, so academic remediation and integrated therapy in a supportive environment are both essential to success.
All these high-risk children are tested for substance use when they arrive and are assigned to either the prevention or the treatment program. All of Niles’ skilled and caring professionals work together to achieve the agency’s mission “to meet the mental health and educational needs of high-risk children and their families, empowering them to become confident and contributing citizens.”