Written by Karen Castañeda, Broetje Family Trust Intern
Tierra Vida is home to the largest community garden in Tri-Cities. The garden hosts plots for over 37 families as well as NELA and the Broetje Family Trust Welcome Team. On Tuesday, May 31st the Leo Center Welcome Team, Broetje Family Trust interns, and NELA middle schoolers visited the community garden to check on our plots. Our intern group planted flowers that we plan to use for the Leo Center flower arrangements. We had the opportunity to look at NELA plots and see what they are growing. They explained to us the process they used to grow their plants. Last winter they began by taking milk gallons and cutting them in half, then filled them with dirt and planted the seeds. Then, they covered the top with tape. This process is meant to mimic a green house. The gallons were placed outside to catch snow and the snow was used as the main water source for the green house when it melted. NELA students are currently growing sunflowers, melons, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, basil, marigolds, and carrots!
In class, the students also learned that if they speak to their plants with love, they will grow healthier and taller; if they speak to the plants poorly or negatively, they will wither or die. Larie Beck, the Social Emotional Learning coordinator then asked the students to say kind words to our flowers as an example of caring for the garden. William, a student who typically shies away from the spotlight, approached a flower and began to sing a popular song, well known for Alfalfa’s serenade to Darla in The Little Rascals.
“You are so beautiful to me”
Jermaine Broetje, philanthropy intern joined William in unison.
“Can’t you see!
You’re everything I hoped for, you’re everything I need.
You are so beautiful to me”
This beautiful moment will stick with me as a constant reminder to do everything with love and words are powerful, so speak kindly to yourself and others.
We gave advice to the students as well. When plants share the same soil, their roots form a community. If one of the plants isn’t doing well, the other plants work together to share nutrients with the struggling plant. At Broetje Family Trust, interns have been learning that praise, love, and support can help us grow and flourish in community.
The intern program at Broetje Family Trust serves to walk alongside individuals who are called to fill organizational needs while receiving training on the principles and values of servant-leadership, trauma informed care, and empowered worldview.