On Saturday August 6th, Growing Home hosted its first annual Farm Block Party. Nationalities Service Center (NSC) shut down the block, rented a moon bounce, and it was an incredible success! Over 200 community members came out and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. Everyone divided up cooking responsibilites and refugee families prepared over 16 different delicious dishes. The food was shared among all the Burmese and Bhutanese families who came, as well as other neighbors and volunteers. It was a true feast!
Families picked fresh vegetables and herbs from their plots to eat with the lentil soup or chili sauce. There were kiddie pools, face painting, many games, and grilling. Practically everyone got sprayed with a hose or sprinkler at some point during the day. Volunteers from NSC organized a large clothing and house supply giveaway. Nearly three truckloads of supplies were distributed!
Perhaps the biggest hit of the day was the moon bounce. All kids, young and old, loved it! For four straight hours, volunteers had to regulate excited hordes of children.
With the help of two interpreters, Juliane Ramic from NSC dedicated the garden with a new banner, thanked all those involved, and explained to the community how committed NSC is to this project and all our families. A Burmese group performed a beautiful folk song to honor the garden!
After the feast, the crowd began singing and dancing for almost an hour! The farm drums were christened for the first time and families sung, played, and danced. It was truly beautiful to hear the chorus of at least 30 women singing traditional Nepali folk songs. Even who supporters who came to visit for the first time was dragged up to dance!
Many families said it was their favorite day in America and constantly asked Adam, NSC’s farm manager, when it will happen again. Some new families who just arrived were thrilled at how many people they got to meet and said it was just like being back in their native villages. Overall it was a truly joyous day filled with all the good things in life – food, dancing and singing, water games, new friendships and community building, and of course- a moon bounce!
NSC offers many thanks to all those who contributed to the success of the event including Jefferson medical students, volunteers from Main Line Unitarian Church, Philadelphia Horticultural Society, and many more. A special thanks goes out to the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program for supporting Growing Home in all of the efforts at the farm and once again making sure this event was a huge success!!