Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My visit to the NEN Good Shepard Unity Garden Project was a lesson in diversity! In 2 short hours I met so many different people with one common goal; growing community, growing vegetables! Each person I spoke to shared. Each had different challenges, but we spoke of strengths and things we have in common. Bill shared how he learned to grow vegetables and the mistakes he made. He actually planted eyes of potatoes as his in-laws had told him; not the potatoes, just the eyes! Of course nothing grew, but it reminded me of how we all misunderstand sometimes and how we grow from there. Nancy lived on a farm and had plenty to share. She has followed the Unity Gardens and was thrilled with the way we are teaching children how to grow food! All this communicated with a "language board"! Rufus, Dora, Patty, and many others all growing food and sharing. Thaks Laureen, garden leader for the NEN Good Shepard Unity Garden Project! Great idea for Unity.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thanks Rick

Thanks to Brian & Ricky at the Ireland rd Walmart for $ 250 grant for the Unity Gardens . Walmart has a program where if Ricky volunteers at least 25 hours he can receive a grant for the Unity Gardens . Ricky is the leader of the PCM garden at 1820 S. Michigan St . He has logged way more than 25 hours between his garden , and helping out in other gardens . Rick & Brian have been major supporters of the Unity Gardens for the past 2 years now .

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Planting for Fall

Its the last Hooray for the LaSalle Square Unity Garden as time ticks away we put in as much as we can to grow food for a bountiful fall harvest . Its like spring all over . We are tearing into rows that have seen better days , and revitializing them into freshly planted Peas , Green Beans , Mustard Green , and much more . We also sort through bare areas in rows , and replant more to fill in . We are lucky to have had a local lawn care company The Groundkeepers who stopped by , and offered to bring by some compost , and grass clippings. Thanks Jim !

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food Drop Off at LaSalle Square

Food drop off or exchange at LaSalle Square Garden

Thursday, July 22, 2010

People are Hungry

Its been a busy week at the LaSalle Square garden . After the Newspaper article ran about the Unity Gardens we have had so many people out to the Garden . We are hearing so many stories about the mouths they have to feed . People are hungry all over the city . The cost of fresh veggies is getting higher all the time .
Some are out of work or underemployed , and some just cannot afford to buy fresh vegetables . Sometimes a little free food can help take the strain off a tight budget . We have so many folks coming out that the food is running low . More is growing , but maybe not fast enough , and thats what makes what happened today so wonderful. A man stopped by with a bag of Cucumbers , and said he grew extra . In short order we gave them to folks in the garden that were out looking for food to harvest . What a wonderful gesture of sharing . I spend so many days thinking will I have food for the next person that stops by to harvest . Thats why this type of sharing means so much to me . Its a wonderful thing .
" We are growing more than Vegetables here " Sara's slogan for the garden rings true .
Thanks to everyone for all your help in making the Unity Gardens work .

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Urban Garden Market


What: “hoopJAM” hosted by Kelly Strycker and the South Bend Drum Circle

When: Saturday, July 24th and Saturday, July 31st
10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Where: 1025 N. Bendix Dr., South Bend, Indiana
(Just south of Lincoln Way West)
Remember the fun of the old hulla hoop? Kids of all ages still love them.

Come join in a “hoopJAM” at the Urban Garden Market the next two Saturdays (July 24th & 31st) from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. A hoopJAM spontaneously occurs when a large number of hula hoops arrive at any given location. Hula hoop dance is fast becoming a modern form of fun, exercise, community building and creative expression. Join Kelly Strycker & South Bend Drum Circle for a Saturday in a hoop or on a drum. Adult and kids hoops will be available to borrow or to purchase. All are welcome! Ms Stryker will also explain her craft of custom made hoops.

The Urban Garden Market is open from 9:00 am– 1:00 pm and offers fresh produce, various baked goods, food products, flowers and herbs.

Contact Person:
Donna Ring

Sunrise Rotary

halfway through the week , and its been a good week . The veggies are thriving , and our fall harvest crops are going in the ground . We are having many guest to the gardens , which gives us the opportunity to meet new folks , and get their stories . It also gives us a chance to educate them on growing , and harvesting .

Best of all this week Sara had a chance to speak to a group whose whole focus it to help others . The Sunrise Rotary at Edison Lakes gave The Unity Gardens a Grant to purchase tools for the gardens . This goes along way to helping the gardens grow food . The Rotary is a great organization

they meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Honkers Restaurant
211 E. Day Road

Mishawaka, IN 46545

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Foodstock 2010

Went to Foodstock 2010 at St Pats park . Turnout was low I think due to the heat and a lot of things going on in the Bend . But it was a great time no doubt .

PGE is a United Way initiative that combines area food pantries, networked together to provide real time information about the plight of the hungry. By combining efforts we leverage ideas and efforts to better serve the struggling families in our area.
They committed to alleviating hunger, so that families can focus on building a better future.

We enjoy the show and think its a great cause .

Please consider donating food to the many pantries they support . Many of the Unity Gardens already donate fresh veggie to these food banks .

Broadway Christian Parish UMC

Calvary Baptist Church

Share Your BlessingsCatholic Charities

Clay united Methodist Church

Food bank of Northern Indiana

la Casa de Amistad

Little Flower Catholic Church

MAC Food Pantry(Albright UM Church)

My Ranch

Penn Township Food Pantry

St. Vincent

Salvation Army

The Church Lady and Friends Outreach Ministry

The Storehouse

Friday, July 16, 2010

Seed More ...Feed More

A great article by Erica Morrison in the Tribune really brought out the folks to visit the Garden today . I can only hope we can get more food in the ground to have a great fall harvest . My new motto is " Seed More Feed More "

Erica did a great job capturing Sara's vision for the Unity Gardens . She spent 3 hours at the LaSalle square garden speaking with many folks that came to visit the garden . She had a chance to experience what the gardens mean first hand . Its not just free food . Its about much much more . It brings people together . Everyday I hear stories from very diverse groups of people from every walk of life . They share their happy stories , and the heartbreaks in their life . Childhood memories of working in dads garden . One man told me his grandmother planted red potatoes every year , and after she died he took some of her potatoes , and replants them every year .

We educate people , as well as learn from people: How to plant , what to plant ,where to plant , how to harvest , how to cook the food . Information is shared between the young , and the old . Most of all we all learn how to share. If we all help grow food , and share with others there will be enough healthy food to go around . It's so simple plant a seed for yourself , and then plant one for your neighbor .

The Unity Gardens are growing , and people are enjoying the gardens in so many ways . Its a good thing !!

Thanks Erica for a great article .

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

St Marys Day

Today a group of girls from St Mary's 2010 Spiritual Leadership Camp came out to work in the LaSalle Square Unity Garden . The Camp is for High School Sophomores. Juniors , and Seniors from all over the Midwest . They are recommended by someone at their school , apply to the camp , and write a essay . They are mentored by St Marys students who also apply to the program . The camp spends time talking about Diversity , Poverty , among other things . They learn how to lead though a better understanding of the world around them . Besides the work they learned about why we have the Gardens , and about some different foods that they may not be exposed to . It was a really great bunch of girls , and we were glad to have them . I see future presidents , and leaders in this group ...Thanks to all of them

Monday, July 12, 2010


Ahh busy day at the LaSalle Square Garden today . I got to the Garden Early to get on with the watering . The dry weather has slowed growing a little , but we still have plenty of food to give some to everyone that stops by . We have loads of String Beans , and the Mustard Greens are coming on strong . I harvested all the Potato's , and started planting new Taters for fall harvest . . The Zucchini Patch has been picked over several times but continues to produce . We picked the first Yellow Crookneck Squash today . We keep finding new Cucumbers , but they may finally all be gone until the next group comes up .

Its Great to see at least 10 or 15 groups of people coming out to harvest healthy food everytime I am out . Everyone just comes out and takes what they need leaving food for others to harvest.

We meet so many people from all over . I learn something new everyday , like how to grow , Harvest , and cook . The Gardens are a great success doing just what we hoped for , Bringing diverse people together , and providing healthy food for the neighborhood

Sunday, July 11, 2010

South Haven Farmers Market

While on vacation we visited the local farmers market . Its a well done , and well presented market . Lots of local farmers & backyard gardeners . Even Garden stories for the kids .The county extension is even asking Sara to present the Unity Garden Framework in the area . They are promoting " Grow an Extra Row " this year , and they want to do more to provide Access to healthy food for everyone .

Monday, July 5, 2010

More News from Memorial Hospital Unity Garden

...we've got Peppers to Pick!

- radishes too! Pick 'em while they are young, sweet and tender otherwise, they'll get tough and bitter.

- THANKS to one of our fellow Unity Gardens! Sara, the Unity Garden leader, brought us bags of ,already cleaned, leaf lettuce that our 2nd Shift employees were able to enjoy Friday Dinner in the Cafe.

- THANKS to Connie, from Advanced Cardiovascular in the Skyway Building, she came up with the ingenious, inexpensive and effective way to stake our tomatoes...She said that is how her Grandma did it!

"Who is going to cook me some Green Fried Tomatoes"???

Unity Gardens recommends mulching with a light coat of grass clippings. Mulch help reduce water evaporation from the soil - less watering, helps keep weeds from germinating and helps enrich the soil by adding organic matter as it decomposes. - I see someone has already mulched the zucchini plants!

Sustainability: Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!

Brent W. Schroeder, CDM
Memorial Hospital
Nutritional Services, Supervisor

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This Week In The Gardens

This week in the gardens was hectic to the say least . Over the last couple weeks some of the local garden centers have been donating the left over plants. So we have been trying to get what we can in the ground. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but it is about feeding people. So needless to say I gave myself a deadline, get it all in before the weekend. So it’s been in the LaSalle Square Garden early 6:30 am, and home late 7 or 8, lots of tilling, lots of planting.
I also had lots of visitors and volunteers at The Garden this week. Several families came out to harvest, and learn about the garden. One of the most exciting things is when the kids learn about eating the Peas right off the vine. Others came out to get the green tomatoes, and talk about how their mothers and grandmothers taught them how to make fried green tomatoes. Many come for the Mustard Greens which have been pretty well picked over, but not to worry we have planted more for round two of Mustard Greens coming soon! We are also harvesting Cucumbers, Zucchini, Kale, Peas, Lettuce, Kolarabi, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Peppers, and Green Tomatoes. The LaSalle Square Garden is looking good we are having a big weeding and clean-up day on Sat, then we will pace it back a little, and start thing about planting fall crops.
A lot of the gardens are getting overrun by weeds. It seems to be a great year for weeds.. Rain & heat. Everyone is keeping up pretty well persistent weeding, and mulch spell success.
We added more plants at LaSalle Academy; Green Beans, and peppers. They are starting to get more volunteers to show up, and the garden is looking good.
Southpaw called on us to come harvest, and deliver veggies to anyone who needs fresh veggies. The Garden at Southpaw is coming along fine . Dennis is keeping the weeds under control . He did request a Raccoon trap & some tomato cages which we dropped off when we harvested. Six gallons of lettuce were donated to Memorial Hospital's cafeteria so the guests could enjoy free "Unity Salad"!
Courtney had a volunteer group out at the Center for the Homeless . They weeded , and harvested green beans and peas. She served peas in the pods, green beans and ranch dip.
Monroe Park Garden was getting a little over run by weeds , but they got on it and its looking good . I noticed a nice yellow Squash , and some tomatoes coming on .
Keller Park is still having neighborhood kids deliver food from the garden, and they are overwhelmed with Swiss chard which they plan to deliver to maybe to Hope Ministries
The South Bend Juvenile Unity Garden is growing well . They are planning on giving their food to LaCasa , The Northern Indiana Food Bank , and The Catholic workers house .
Logan Center Unity garden is looking very good the raised beds working out very well due to the Organic Resources compost. It is like rocket fuel for the veggies!

Memorial’s Unity garden is growing great . They may have one of the first red tomatoes . They are also having lots of foot traffic past the garden , with lot of posititive comments. One physician mentioned how nice it is to see the garden with healthy food rather than a smoking area!

The Helping Hands Unity Garden (housing authority) is planted and mulched thanks to residents and the children who live nearby. One 10 year old is training to be a Unity Garden leader there already!

The Salvation Army Unity Garden also finished planting, ending with the 3 sisters (corn, squash, and beans) in the last area. Their tomatoes are caged and growing well.

The Unity Garden at Zion was the last one to have plants added! We have a new garden leader who is very excited to see the garden looking weed free; thanks Laura! Herbs, tomatoes, cauliflower, and squashes were planted Friday. We had 4 or 5 visitors stop by to compliment the garden. It is very visable; on Jefferson and St Peter!

We also have a new garden leader at the South East Salsa Unity garden on Indiana St. Welcome and thanks Kim! The corn behind all the tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, and cilantro make this garden look like it came out of a picture!

The PCM Unity Garden had more than it's share of weeds, so it was retilled in back and a large pumpkin patch was planted. Hopefully we will have a great harvest there in time for Halloween! The tomatoes and peppers there are doing well, and cucmbers are ready for harvesting. The watermelon is also creeping all over!

Squash, tomatoes, and corn are all growing at The Catholic Workers Unity Garden. They had extra marigolds from the Girl Scouts which they donated to Monroe Park Unity Garden. It is good to see the Unity sharing among gardens in addition to with harvesters.

Broadway Unity Garden keeps needing more produce for their food pantry! Lizz was out to get additional plants, but extra produce will be sent there as other gardens enjoy abundance. It seems like everyone is valuing the fresh, healthy food!

We also enjoyed a phone call from Saint Vincent's asking for additional brochures. It seems they are getting alot of requests for food, and they can not keep up with demand. Their customers come from throughout the city, so they thought the Unity Gardens was a perfect fit to help keep our community fed. It was another Unity lesson of gratitude to hear we were making a difference for them. Its nice to see that folks come out looking for something they need a Cucumber , or some peas for dinner , and find it at the garden !!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Monroe Park

Spent a little time working at the Monroe Park Unity Garden . Its a little weedy , but growing good food there . Oops I cut one of the soaker hoses ....guess I will have to buy a new one .

A Saturday at LaSalle Square

This Sat a LaSalle Square was like many others . Many folks in , and out of the garden all day long . At any time there are folks harvesting , weeding or just visiting . Today we were putting on the big push to clean-up finish any planting so we can get into the maintaining phase for awhile . We updated the signs with a new coat of paint , cleaned up all our seed trays , mowed , and weeded . The garden is looking good , and get used everyday . Lots of harvesting going on . We even had a few ladies harvesting Mulberries . Its a joy to see the garden taking shape . Oh and check the Unity Mushroom project blog . I completed the next step , and will be blogging soon