An Outdoor Classroom for Alder Street Garden

27 September, 2012

The first time Presley Alexander saw pictures of a cob building, she thought, “This is what I’m here to do!” Cob construction is an ancient earth building technique that utilizes a combination of earth, straw, sand and water. Presley is excited about using this ancient technique to create a circular cob bench at the Alder Street School and Community Garden, with a roof structure for inclement weather.

Presley, who is volunteering her time, is partnering with Cody Reed and the Digging In garden education program. The Digging In program helps students grasp the interconnected nature of agriculture, ecology, and society, and gain a personal understanding of eating as an act of environmental stewardship. Once built, the cob bench structure will serve as an outdoor classroom and gathering place for Quincy elementary students and the Digging In program, in addition to serving as a model example of cob structure building for the community.

Presley and Cody plan to involve the students and volunteers in building the bench, integrating recycling and mosaic art into the process. At a cob building site, where everything is hand-mashed and formed, there is a job for everyone – male and female, toddlers and elders, the well and the differently abled. Presley believes that co-creative processes that appreciate each person’s strengths are key to building thriving communities.

Bread for the Journey of Feather River was happy to give Presley a grant of $300 to pay for materials. Presley and local roofer Kenny Davis will donate their time to build the shelter and the cob bench, and invite students and other volunteers to co-create this unique gathering place.