Saturday, September 6, 2014

Growing For The Hungry

A week ago I posted about the Gehres's establishing the Food Pantry and said I would follow up with what the Children's Garden involvement was with this program. This is a short summary of what this group has done.

When we were establishing the Children's Garden at Smiley Park, Van Wert, Ohio, we decided, it would  be a learning garden, to teach about healthy living. Through sponsorship from our local Hospital,  we established "The Healthy Me Garden". There is a large red bowl with a large salad fork and spoon, designed by a local craftsman. We grew all the greens to make a salad. A local business donated a grocery cart to be the planter for growing our herbs. We incorporated  several raised beds to grow the different vegetables.

Here we taught how our food grows.  Many young people think it comes from the supermarket .We have had tasting programs and made vegetable pizzas using different vegetables. 
We had two young gentlemen from a local school that adopted this garden as part of a FFA  (Future Farmers Of America)  project and both were able to obtain scholarships for college. They experimented with different crops and have conducted education programs for youth. They gave a lot of them selves with this commitment.

Another garden called " Busy Hands" was a garden designed for young children beginning 4H. They chose what they wanted to grow. This was managed with a 4H adviser.

Over a Sunday morning breakfast, following church, the idea grew for the "Growing For The Hungry". It became the inspiration for starting our sharing our produce with the local food pantry. A local business man that has been very supportive of our program at the garden came forward with funds to establish this garden. This garden has four raised beds.  This year a young mother and her two daughters managed this garden. It was a good experience for a family working together knowing they were helping some one who was in need. What a way to make children aware of what they can do to contribute to their community. As they grow older they will look back and realize what they did. The seed has been planted .

In these combined gardens we grew strawberries, green beans, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, greens, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and numerous other crops.

One in seven families have need of the food bank. Scouts, civic groups and churches canvas for food for the pantry as well as the Salvation Army. Private individuals also share. They are always in need. At the present they are needing canned soups. Be thankful for what you have and always be mindful of others.

We want to thank all the people that makes this possible. Giving of one self is the greatest gift of all.


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