Multicultural Children’s Community Garden
Building Bridges – Multicultural Children’s Community Garden
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan rewarded Detroit Friendship House with a grant to create a multicultural children’s garden in Hamtramck, the most diverse city in Michigan. The purpose is to provide low-income children access to fresh, healthy produce while serving as a model for living harmoniously in community. Given that over 90% of Hamtramck’s population falls almost equally into 4 major ethnic groups: Arabic, Asian, Eastern European and African American, our Multicultural children’s garden has a unique opportunity to act as a dynamic teaching laboratory for learning cross-cultural abilities such as intercultural communication and collaboration skills. It can also act as a model to others for learning tolerance and building bridges leading towards more peaceful coexistence in a diverse society.
To that end we have been partnering with Oakland University’s Student Organic Farm Program, Bridge Academy Elementary School, and Hamtown Farms to teach children how to grow a garden together. The Garden, named Building Bridges, came together under the guidance of Rachel Bush, student at Oakland University and Cindy Libeau, caterer. They each meet once per week at Bridge Academy to work with the students, Rachel teaching the science of gardening, and Cindy teaching food preparation.
The students helped plan the garden, build raised beds, plant the seeds, and tend the garden. They have also learned about each other’s cultures through food choices and preferences. Additionally, they’ve learned how to make simple nutritious snacks such as fruit smoothies, hummus, granola, and others. Most importantly they are learning about intercultural collaboration, respect for other cultures, more tolerant global views, and they are building friendships.