By Renata Solan
Summer is just around the corner and summer activities for your children may be just down the block at the Community GroundWorks Troy Kids’ Garden.
The Troy Kids’ Garden, located at 502 Troy Drive, has long served schools and youth groups on the Northside and throughout Madison. Students from the Northport Community Learning Center, Kennedy Heights Community Center, Mendota Elementary School and Vera Court Neighborhood Center have enjoyed weeding, harvesting, cooking, exploring and even playing music at the garden.
Until this year, access to the garden’s renowned programs was limited to children participating in field trips through schools and community centers. Now, the Troy Kids’ Garden — as well as the Goodman Youth Farm, another Community Groundworks site near Kennedy Elementary School — is offering family field trips that are open to the public. Each site is offering four dates from June through August when families can sign up to help out in the garden, learn about raising bees and chickens, do scavenger hunts, roam the adjacent prairie and cook in the outdoor kitchen.
“This is the first time the garden is open to the public. Children and their families will get to cook and build connections between growing food and eating it,” explained Community GroundWorks Education Director Ginny Hughes.
In addition to new family programming, this year marks the very first Troy Gardens Day Camp. Children ages 7‒11 can attend weeklong morning camps throughout the summer, with themes such as cooking, animals, permaculture, movement and music and art. “This camp goes beyond a standard nature camp,” said Hughes. “It is 100 percent outdoors and focuses on building connections between nature, gardening and cooking.”
Northsiders attending the camp may see some familiar faces. The camp will be taught by Becca Brokaw, who visited the Troy Kids’ Garden as a Mendota Elementary School student. And the garden is often staffed by interns from the Vera Court Neighborhood Center who themselves had formative experiences at the garden as children.
More information and registration for the camps, family field trips and Troy Gardens Day are available at www.communitygroundworks.org.