Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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Opinion

October 22, 2013

Love grows in garden

Volunteers working the Community Garden near Ivy Tech Community College harvested 514.5 pounds of fresh vegetables last Monday — alone — and Jeannie Vondersaar, Howard County Extension Services secretary, said the last of the produce will be brought in this week.

Without counting this week’s haul, community gardeners have harvested 17,265.5 pounds of food. They’ve cultivated and collected pounds and pounds of beets, kale, kohlrabi, bell peppers, yellow peppers, Swiss chard and zucchini; they’ve harvested green beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, parsnips, potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips and watermelon.

All has been distributed to community kitchens and residential centers.

Barbara Hight, who managed the kitchen at Open Arms Women’s Shelter at the time, told us in 2007 that the produce from the Community Garden means the women and children get fresh vegetables at lunch and dinner.

“They really enjoy the fresh green beans and the corn on the cob,” she said. “With the donation, we are able to provide a healthy meal.”

The Community Garden was started in the spring of 2003 as a pilot program between Ivy Tech, Purdue University-Howard County Extension and Purdue Master Gardeners from the Howard County Master Gardeners Association. It was designed to supply fresh produce to the community’s hungry and serve as a live laboratory for free public seminars in vegetable gardening.

In 2003, volunteers harvested 4,744 pounds. So far this year, the total was more than 8.6 tons – all on 1 acre of donated land with donated labor.

Thanks, volunteers, for your hard work. The folks at Coordinated Assistance Ministries, Gilead House, Howard Haven, Open Arms Women’s Shelter, Rescue Mission and many other agencies thank you, as well.

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