Kyiv Harvest Festival 2023

Time for another update about our work to support Ukrainians as they continue to experience the hardships of war being fought in their country. This last year, we partnered with SURGe for a Victory Gardens program in Kyiv, Kamyandets-Podilskyi, and Zhytomyr, Ukraine. Several programs were run in these communities, including school gardens, greenhouse restoration, community harvest festivals, orchard planting, and teacher workshops. I’ll include some program highlights below:

In Kyiv, students worked on projects to unify their community. Over the summer, the students established outdoor raised garden beds, which they constructed and planted. Four beds were used to grow seasonal vegetables and the others were used to grow herbs. The gardening activities were incorporated into their biology classes, extracurricular time, and summer camps. The herbs were dried and used to make tea packages, spices, and herbal salts. The produce and herbs products were sold during the Victory Gardens Fair and a Cabbage festival. These events provided a great opportunity to bring the community together with participation by students, teachers, and parents. They also were used to raise money to support Ukrainian defenders.

In Kamyandets-Podilskyi, an old non-functioning greenhouse at the ecological and natural sciences department was renovated so that it can now be used to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities to grow fresh vegetables and greenery. In addition, 30 area teachers were provided with training in school gardening, composting, and organic farming. After the training, most of the participating schools constructed composters and started a school gardening program in the spring. One of the gardens was with a kindergarten class, with active participation by the kindergarteners. The students enjoyed the outdoor classes and using vegetables to make salads and carrot juice.

In Zhytomyr, students and teachers worked together to plant an orchard of 23 fruit trees and 30 berry bushes at their school. The trees and bushes included apples, pears, peaches, gooseberries, and currants. Some of the trees are anticipated to bear fruit by the next season. Teachers and students were united in wanting an orchard since it will last for the next generation of school children. You can see a video about the orchard here.  Students also revived an old greenhouse on the school’s property and used it to grow vegetables. Teachers encouraged the students to graffiti the walls as an outlet to express their artistic creativity. The students’ classes were online, so they enjoyed the social activities associated with gardening with their peers. The students also packed greenery kits from their harvest to provide internally displaced Ukrainians that are housed at a nearby shelter.

Thank you sincerely for supporting these programs. Last year we also supported 7 school gardening programs with Resiliency Gardens in Poland, supported school and community gardens in Ukraine, planted over 1,000 fruit trees in Ukraine, and provided seeds for 17 institutions to grow vegetable gardens in Ukraine.  You can read a full program report outlining all of our work in Poland and Ukraine over the last couple years here.

We are happy to continue this work in Poland and Ukraine in 2024. Stay tuned for additional updates. If you would like to support these programs, please visit our Donation page: or visit our Support for Ukraine page to learn more about our programs and ways to get involved, including planting yellow and blue flowers for a solidarity bloom project:

Thank you for your support!

Kyiv School Garden Photos

Kyiv Cabbage Festival 2023

Kamyanets-Podilskyi School Garden Photos

Kamyanets Teacher training 2023
Kamyanets Kindergarden 2023

Zhytomyr School Garden Photos

Zhytomyr Greenhouse Ukraine 2023
Zhytomyr microgreens 2023

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