SPI is partnering with Support to Ukraine’s Reforms for Governance (SURGe) for their Victory Gardens initiative in Ukraine. As we wait for the air to warm and snow to melt, students at a school in Kyiv are making “healing jars” of viburnum jam to lift the spirits of the students and teachers, unite their community, and support their military. The students picked viburnum berries from fruit trees and bushes near their school and made jam for the air defense forces that are defending Kyiv airspace. Viburnum, also called Kalyna, is a woody plant that grows bright red berries. The plant is a national symbol of Ukraine and symbolizes courage, unity, love, beauty, and life. The berries also provide health benefits as an antioxidant that reduces blood pressure and has anti-inflammatory qualities.
The students in the school’s horticulture program worked together to harvest the berries, cook the jam, and put the jam in jars for the air defense forces. The students also created drawings and wrote messages of hope to accompany the healing jars. The program has helped improve the morale of the students and teachers involved, while also uniting the community struggling during this difficult time.
This program is part of a larger Victory Gardens initiative to encourage residents to use their available land to grow food for Ukrainians. Victory Gardens have a long global history, with gardens being planted in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Germany during World Wars I and II. The initiatives aim to prevent food insecurity and create a morale booster for communities experiencing crisis. SPI and SURGe are partnering for this initiative to also create a community garden in Volochysk and school gardens at schools in Kyiv, Kamyanets-Podilskyi, and Zorivka. Vegetables will be planted in the spring.
Thank you for supporting this work! If you would like to support this project or other projects in Ukraine, you can donate here and specify in the comment section that you would like the donation to fund projects in Ukraine.
We also still have our Ukrainian Solidarity Bloom packets of blue and yellow flower seed that you can plant in your spring garden to show your support for the people of Ukraine. Thank you to Applewood Seed Co. for donating the flower seed. Contact us at UKRsolidarity@seedprograms.org if you would like us to send you one or more seed packets. You can also email us photos of your garden and a message for us to post to our website to share with our partners. Donations are appreciated to cover the cost of shipping. Any additional donations will go toward supporting projects in Ukraine. Check out our Support for Ukraine webpage for more information.