When I first stepped into BELL Garden in March 2016, I did not realize “BELL” is an acronym: “Bellevue Edible Learning Lab”. It’s a clever word play invoking the first syllable of the community this garden supports. However, the name implies even more: at its heart, BELL Garden is a laboratory.
Thinking of BELL Garden as a lab inspires me. After all, I am an doctorate-toting engineer trained at MIT. So, I know labs. They are places where experiments are conducted, new discoveries are made, and knowldge is disseminated. In many ways, BELL Garden does all those things. So the “lab” moniker fits.
A Lab’s Heart is its Stockroom
Thinking of BELL Garden as a lab inspired the title of this Blog. A lab’s stockroom is that out-of-the-way place few people ever see. Most stockrooms I’ve been in are dingy and unkempt. They are littered with unwashed glassware piled high. They feature sagging, stained shelves adorned with festering pre-Napoleonic chemical containers. They smell like sulfur and ruin. Yet, despite the semi-organized chaos, there is something magical about the stockroom: it is the source from which all labs’ amazing discoveries originate. Without the stockroom, the lab could not work.
From Stockroom to Garden Blog
My role as a BELL Garden volunteer for nearly a year has been to write grant proposals. Under supervision of the BELL Board, I look at the Garden, imagine what could be, and try to convince grant-makers to provide needed resources to make these visions real. I also contribute to educational projects and outreach to the extent that input from an MIT-trained mechanical engineer is helpful (and tolerated). Of course, there is no physical BELL Garden space that resembles a stockroom. However, as the Garden’s grant writer, I find many of the Garden’s amazing activities spring from the minds of our Board and find their way into my grant proposals before they ever come to fruition. So, in that respect I am privy to BELL Garden’s virtual stockroom, the source from which our activities originate.
The purpose of this Blog, “From the BELL Stockroom”, is to share with our community about the grants we are submitting, the ideas we are generating, and the projects we are working to bring to life. I also plan to share details of BELL Garden’s activities I’m actively working on that have science and engineering education components complementary to the Garden’s core horticultural focus.
So, welcome to the stockroom, and stay tuned!