Submitted by the Joyce Soble Family Resource Center
With so many unknowns happening for all of us it is easy to stray from the positive events happening every day that make our world better. Often, those events are acts of kindness that deserve celebration. Sometimes those events are as simple as helping others plant a garden.
Last spring, the Washington State University Master Gardener program, the Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center and San Juan County Health and Community services worked together to provide a five-week, hands-on gardening program titled “Grow Your Own Food” using the WSU Master Gardener demonstration garden. The program served 10 families and was successful in providing participants with skills and resources to garden at home.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the organizations knew that while they wanted to continue to support families grow their own food, they would have to do it differently. Encouraging families to venture into growing food, based on the Victory Gardens of the early twentieth century, and the concept that we ensure sustainability for our community when we contribute to the food supply. After all, growing food is life-changing. It connects us to the natural world, to our own nourishment, and to each other. It is one of the most resilient acts we can make.
So, as part of their annual Spring Plant Sale, the WSU Master Gardeners invited community members to purchase packs of ten transplants that could be given to families. The community enthusiastically responded by purchasing 16 Victory Garden packs that included cherry tomatoes, green beans, squash, Halloween pumpkin, kale, and cucumber. The Master Gardeners then created informational sheets on how to plant and care for each vegetable, as well as compiling bags of fertilizer.
Community organizations were excited to step up and collaborate. Browne’s Home Center donated over a hundred pots for container gardens and sixteen bags of soil. San Juan Health and Community Services made time to translate all of the veggie info sheets into Spanish, and the San Juan Island Family Resource Center donated 36 bags of soil, as well as staff time for garden deliveries.
And this is just the beginning. The Master Gardeners and the Family Resource Center are offering ongoing support throughout the summer to answer garden questions and provide recipe ideas for bringing produce into the kitchen. The hope is that there is future collaboration ahead and even bigger garden dreams. IIf you are interested in being a part of or supporting this endeavor please reach out either to Delphina Liles, email@example.com or Caitlin Blethen, firstname.lastname@example.org.