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Extension > Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners > Tips for harvesting? Remember your bags.

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On this blog, we share regular updates about the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners partnership between Extension's Children, Youth & Family Consortium and Bruce Vento Elementary School.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tips for harvesting? Remember your bags.

By: Nora Fox

This past Saturday I packed up my gardening tools, new puppy, and dirty tennis shoes and headed to the community garden at Bruce Vento. I hadn’t thought to bring extra paper bags for the vegetables to be harvested, but I wish I had!

After spending about an hour weeding and cleaning up the beds, I decided to reach out to some local neighbors to encourage them to harvest some of the vegetables. There were plenty of green tomatoes, eggplant, and basil to choose from, and even some corn has popped up since my last visit! I saw a father and daughter waiting by the bus stop across the street and asked if they would be interested in picking some vegetables later. The father seemed a bit surprised, but as soon as his daughter’s eyes lit up with excitement at this opportunity, he said he would bring her by later in the afternoon after they returned from their trip downtown.


Around the same time I saw some children on bikes across the street and a family heading to the playground to play some baseball. I approached both groups and asked if they knew about the garden at Bruce Vento (only about 100 feet away at the time). They said they had seen it, but hadn’t picked anything from it yet. I encouraged them to come check it out and grab some vegetables and herbs and both groups had similar reactions: “We can do that?” Of course you can! They followed me back to the garden and I immediately realized my mistake — I forgot to bring bags! I offered them some plastic containers I found in my car and the mom had a plastic bag with her that she could use. The young girls, both in middle school now, said they had gone to Bruce Vento and lived right around the corner. They were excited to bring back nearly a dozen green tomatoes to their family to eat that night. The other mom and I had a nice discussion regarding how we like to use and prepare basil (we agreed it is great in lemonade at this time of year), and I urged her to grab an eggplant. “I’ve never had an eggplant before… I guess it’s worth a shot!” She planned to grill it and serve it with rice later that evening.


I wish I had the opportunity to take more pictures of this beautiful sight, with multiple community members and neighbors sharing in the harvest of the garden. However, our discussions of how to prepare the various vegetables was far too important. I told them they could come back anytime and they all agreed that was a great idea. I ended up giving out some small plastic bags (remember I said I brought my puppy with?) so the girls could grab some corn and peas, too! We hope that the garden continues to provide nutritional and free option for families in the neighborhood…. now we just need more bags!

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Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Learners is an ongoing partnership between the Extension Children, Youth, and Family Consortium and the Bruce Vento Elementary School. Together, along with many other partners, we are developing engaging learning environments that promote student learning and wellness.

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