Saturday, December 31, 2011


Unity Gardens Presents

Teaching Wind Power For Kids
Wed Jan 11th 5:30 to 7:30
At the Food Bank of Northern Indiana
702 South Chapin St
South Bend IN

Class is free , but space is limited so please call or e-mail
Sara Stewart @ 574-315-4361

Wind is one of the most poorly understood sources of power

This ia a hands on workshop designed to give you the necessary tools to teach youths about windpower

Come participate in this intro-ductory workshop to wind po-wer, where you will learn the basic concepts of wind power and how to design and build the wind power machines from broken down spare machine parts, and how to make them from scratch.

We will even see which design produces the most power and pumps the most water

We will use props and models to explain the properties of the wind and how it is used to calculate the design and power generation capacity of a windmill. All explanations are age appropriate for children 8 and above.

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.


Peace studies, M.A
Anthropology, M.A.
Interpreter, French
Received training in building 1 KW wind-mills from car parts from Homebrew in Buckhorn, Colorado

Karana spends the bulk of his time in post conflit countries in Africa explo-ring cheap accessible ways to restore balance to ravaged social and econo-mic systems.
He will only be in South Bend for a limited time

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Something to Think About

Nature provides our gardens with birds, bees, and all sorts of insects that are needed to pollinate our gardens. But in this day and age with urban sprawl. pesticides , herbicides , and mono crops we are having a serious impact on the very things that make our gardens thrive. When I grow my garden I always think of it as taking as opposed to giving. I turn the soil I plant the seeds , and then I reap the benefits of the harvest . If I am not careful I slowly strip the soil of nutrients. So of course I try to return as much as I can to the soil . Leaves , Clippings , and composted food waste , and to that end my soil is rich with dark brown loose soil.
JFNew in Walkerton
     But lets not forget our pollinators . We mow our lawns and pull our weeds , and kill our dandelions . So this year think about leaving the dandelions , and maybe leave a few weeds in the garden . Some milk weeds , some Poke weed , and anything that flowers . Did you know the Monarch Butterfly only feeds on milkweed, and birds will feed on Poke weed berries. If you grow a flower garden try to go native.Native plants draw in native butterfly's, and bees.  Herbs Basil, Lemon Balm, Cilantro , all bring in bees . One step further is to plan out a special garden just to attract these pollinators. There are many books you can buy on plants that draw in beneficial insects . Butterfly Gardens , Pollination stations , Bee Gardens , whatever you want to call it , its all about bringing  home the good guys . Unity Gardens will have at least one class on this on April 21st , and I am sure the Master Gardeners will also have a class .
Some Good Resources

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bees at LaSalle Square

Something new coming to LaSalle Square Unity Garden in 2012 . Thanks to the Amazing work of Alex Lesniak better known as Bee Girl we will have bees. The Bees will help us educate , pollinate , and provide local honey. Check out her website to learn more.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Unity Class Sponsor

New Unity Gardens Class Sponsor

Would your business like to help sponsor our classes ?
Call Sara Stewart 574-315-4361

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Collaboration

Unity Gardens is pleased to announce its collaboration with the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. The Food Bank is supporting the Unity Gardens with classroom, and office space at facility located at 702 S. Chapin St. This classroom, and office space will fit perfectly for our upcoming classes. Check above on our classes tab for a list of classes starting on Jan 21st .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kind Donation

A while back I connected with a friend from my past , like many of do on Facebook . A few days ago this friend messaged me and said whats your address I would like to donate some garden sprayers made by the Company I work for ( Chapin Sprayers ) . Funny thing is the last time I saw Steve was probably the early 80's , and I was stocking shelves with Chapin sprayers at Brite-Way . ( Brite-way only exciting to the older crowd living in the Bend 1962 to 1987 . )  Anyway a few days later we receive a package. Thanks Steve Hickey . We have come along way since those days of running around town in our youth

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Picture Worth a 1000 Words

Thanks to Nate Bosch for putting our 3 Phase plan for LaSalle Square
Unity Garden into a plan everyone can see

Thanks to the Community Foundation of St Joe County awarding us a Grant for Phase II

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Great News

Community Foundation of Saint Joseph County Awards

Unity Gardens Special Project Grant
The Unity Gardens Growing Project was awarded a $15,000 Special Project Challenge Grant for the Growing Project! This grant requires matching dollars. The funds are dedicated to our Unity Gardens Educational Programs, including the new Outdoor classroom and Farm to Market Series.
    In 2011, Unity Gardens launched a series of successful educational classes on a broad range of gardening topics. From Garden planning, to pest control, and soil amendments, the classes attracted people from throughout the community. Over 50 classes were held in 2011 with more than 3500 participants.
     Building on the successes from last year, the 2012 Growing Project includes basic gardening classes, and adds an experiential learning piece specifically geared toward growing produce for market. Also included is the infrastructure to create an outdoor classroom with activity centers, a pollination station, composting demonstration areas, raised beds, seating, signage, and more!
      It is time to donate to Unity Gardens and make this dream a reality! Your donation not only helps assure everyone in our community has the opportunity to grow healthy food, but it also empowers people to supplement their income through selling locally grown food.
     Dollars donated will be matched with our Community Foundation of Saint Joseph County award. Additionally, Indiana residents may qualify to use Unity Gardens NAP tax credits for their donations .

Donations accepted via PayPal on our blog
or via mail at Unity Gardens Inc. PO Box 10022 South Bend IN 46680
Thank you for your support of Unity! For other questions or additional ways to support Unity, feel free to call 574 315-4361

Growing Food, Growing Health, Growing Community!
Growing Together!
 Sara Stewart RN MSN
Executive Director

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

National Young Farmers Coalition Blog Post

Ohio State Study Shows Potential for Urban Agriculture

Picture by Unity Gardens
Posted by Chris on Thursday, November 10, 2011
According to a new study just released by Ohio State University, “Can Cities Become Self-Reliant in Food?,” Cleveland and other major cities in the US could produce up to 100 percent of their food needs through urban agriculture. Doing this would save up to $155 million each year, boost employment, and reduce obesity. According to the study, Cleveland has more than 20,000 vacant lots which total about 3,000 acres, as well as 2,900 flat rooftops which could also be used to grow fruits and vegetables. Cleveland is very progressive in terms of urban farming, and Cleveland city planners have made an effort to promote urban gardening in the past five to 10 years.
What potential is there for feeding city residents through urban farms? The Ohio State study analyzed three scenarios for intensive use of currently unused city space for gardening, showing that much of Cleveland’s food needs could be met by reclaiming abandoned city lots and repurposing commercial buildings to grow food. For example, one scenario suggests that 80 percent of all vacant lots could be used for vegetable production, raising chickens, and beekeeping. The study reported that this scenario would meet one-fourth to one-half of the city’s produce needs and one-fourth of the city’s needs for eggs and poultry. A second scenario projected for the city of Cleveland would use all the vacant land from the first scenario, plus 10 percent of residential backyards. With just a bit more land brought under cultivation in this scenario, the study reported that Cleveland residents’ produce demands would be met up to nearly 70 percent of the time, and nearly all poultry and egg needs would be satisfied. One last scenario was explored. This would use all the area of the first and second situations (80 percent of vacant city lots and 10 percent of residential backyards), but would also use repurposed commercial and industrial buildings to grow fruits and vegetables. Here, the Ohio State study reported that at least one-half–and perhaps as much as 100 percent–of Cleveland’s produce needs would be met.
Along with providing the extensive quantities of food necessary to feed Cleveland, there are other benefits projected from expanding urban agriculture in Cleveland. About 10 percent of Cleveland residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, and more than a third are obese. But more people growing fruits and vegetables in the city could change this. Research has shown that urban gardening can improve nutrition, increase property values, and reduce crime. Also, according to Parwinder Grewal, professor of entomology, director of the Center for Urban Environment and Economic Development at Ohio State University and the author of this study, Clevelanders could retain more money in the local economy if more people start new urban gardens in the city. “Cleveland annually spends some $115 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, eggs, and honey, most of which comes from somewhere else – California, Mexico, South America, even as far away as China and Thailand,” Grewal said. “Our study indicates that the city can prevent economic leakage anywhere from $27 million to $115 million annually by increasing its production of fresh produce, poultry and honey. This could boost the city’s economy and lead to increased job creation.”
I interviewed Mitch Yaciw, co-founder of Unity Gardens, a community garden movement in South Bend, Indiana, about urban gardening and its benefits. He provided further perspective, mentioning that one of the biggest benefits urban gardens offer is a sense of community. Urban gardens “bring neighbors together to work together,” he said. Also, urban gardening helps reduce crime. It can teach young people to pay attention to where their food comes from, since many people have no idea where their food was grown or how it traveled to the stores where it was purchased.
Mitch added that an important step in developing more urban gardens is locating gardens appropriately. For example, Mitch said that Unity Gardens tests the soil for lead before starting a new garden–an important consideration, especially in urban areas. According to Mitch, “you have to add value to the neighborhood” if you’re going to build a garden in a new location, and taking the time to build support for the garden among neighbors is particularly important.
To build on the results of the Ohio State report, I also asked Mitch about some ways to promote the growth of urban farming in cities across the country. Based on his experience organizing a network of urban gardens, he remarked that a city-wide farming project involves laying a lot of groundwork, and building relationships with diverse groups of people to introduce the idea of urban gardening to them. These on-the-ground thoughts shared by Mitch reinforce the results of the Ohio State study and the idea that urban farming has great potential to contribute to the life of our cities.

Ohio State Study Shows Potential for Urban Agriculture

Ohio State Study Shows Potential for Urban Agriculture

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Week

At The Potawatomi Conservatories this Wed
A Healthy , Quick & Easy Cooking Demo & Tasting
Free Class
Wed Nov 9th at 6pm
2105 Mishawaka Ave
Class by Cara Lupa / Purdue Master Gardener

A Great Weekend Event by Michiana Orchid Society

Michiana Orchid Show
Nov. 12 & 13,
10 am to 5 pm
At Holy Cross College.
 There will be exhibits, displays, vendors, orchid sales, children activities,and door prizes. Two educational classes on orchids will be at 1 pm and 2 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Display of orchids from the Potawatomi Conservatories  for this judged orchid show.
No admission price and it is great fun for everyone.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Are You Thinking About Donating ?

If you are thinking about donating this year to Unity Gardens and you are a Indiana resident NOW is the time to take advantage of this special tax credit program. 

I am sharing the good news about the Unity Gardens Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) award. Unity Gardens has been awarded this charitable contribution incentive in order to support our educational program. We were awarded $20,000 of credits which translates into $40,000 of donations. So far we have "sold" about $3000.00 worth of credits, leaving potential of $17,000 for others to take advantage of.

   Donors receive 50% of their contribution credited back on their IN state taxes. That means if you donate $500 dollars to Unity Gardens, you will receive $250.00 back from your Indiana taxes (if you paid IN  taxes).

     We are charged with "selling" at least 60% of these credits by the year end. I hope that you may choose to take advantage of this program which helps the entire community protect their health through healthy food choices

. As a first year recipient of this award we are less well known than some. Typically organizations' credits are "sold" quickly, limiting the number of donors who can access this program. As I have talked to people about it, it would seem it is a closely held secret!

     If you would like to take advantage of this, you may let me know or just contact me directly (phone, text or e-mail are fine). Checks or requests can be made to Unity Gardens at  PO Box 10022 South Bend, IN 46680, or on our Paypal button on our blog . The program "Growing Health" can be referenced so we know to award the credits.

Unity Gardens: Growing Food, Growing Health, Growing Community!
Growing Together
Sara Stewart RN MSN
Executive Director
Unity Gardens Inc.
PO Box 10022
South Bend, IN 46680
574 315-4361

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Madison Square Up Date

Madison Square Garden is still producing -- last Sunday I harvested potatoes, three beautiful green peppers, the last of the green beans and tomatoes, a stray zucchini or two. Even a handful of raspberries that came in late. It's the 30th, so I guess I should do that this Sunday too.

     We still have a few more potatoes to dig, carrots, radishes, and of course spinach, mustards and cold weather greens. But we're winding down.
     I guess so, it's 29 degrees this early on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Canning Class , Pumpkins

Still busy as we wind things down for fall . We are hosting a canning class at Potawatomi Conservatories tonight Oct 26th at 6pm . Edie Sutton from Purdue extension will be showing how to can safely .
For more info call 574-315-4361

We are also selling Pumpkins at the Conservatories you can Purchase them during regular Conservatory hours M-F 10am to 4pm , Sat 10am to 3pm
or at the canning class tonight . Proceeds are shared between Potawatomi Conservatories .

We are still working on closing down the gardens . LaSalle Square still has lots of Mustard Greens , Kale , Peas , and Radish , So come on out we will slowly clean up thoughout Nov .

Friday, October 14, 2011

Harvest Party

Unity Gardens harvest celebration was a great sucess . We would love to thank everyone who donated items for our silent auction, The chefs that provided food for the close to 300 in attendence, The Jewish Federation for donating their facility for this event, All the people who showed up to enjoy themselves .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unity Harvest Celebration

With Gardening still in full swing we are thinking of 2012 and how to support the Unity Gardens another year . So while we are still out gardening our focus for the next 2 weeks will be towards this fall fundraiser . So please look at this blog and see our many supporters , please let them know you support them supporting us . Many of the logos you can click on and go to thier facebook page and make a comment .
Taste of Unity Harvest Event / Silent Auction / Tapas Dinner
Fundraiser Tickets $ 25
Tuesday Oct 11th 4pm-8pm

The Jewish Federation
 3202 Shalom Way South Bend, IN 46615
Our upcoming Harvest Event celebration local food- local chefs is really gaining community enthusiasm! We have an exciting array of chefs already involved with more on the way.
With tickets on sale now at our Unity Gardens blog you can almost taste the fun!
Highlighting Chefs and tapas from Thyme of Grace, Fiddler's Hearth, UpTown Kitchen & The Mark, Sangrias and Agave Lounge, Joel Barrett co-founder of Green Drinks, and more!
Silent auction items and sponsorships are still being offered, reminding me of how benevolent this community really is! Just like the way the Unity Gardens have been growing, this event is taking on an energy all its own. We appreciate the shared dedication to growing our community in Unity!
Thanks to our Major sponsors
 WNIT Public Television,
Teachers Credit Union,
WSBT & B100,
PNC Bank
Martin's Super Market
Bethel College,
Saint Mary's College

We have tickets on sale now for $25.00. You may purchase them through our Website (see the left upper corner), or via snail mail (PO Box 10022 South Bend IN 46680) or by calling 574 315-4361.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rainey & Cool Event

ROC does cooking Demo at LaSalle Square Unity Garden . It was rainey , and cool , but we still had a good turn-out , and made some new friends
The Reducing Obesity Coalition of St. Joseph County works to promote healthy lifestyles in the greater South Bend area through education and active events

Description ROC's goals for the St. Joseph County community are:
-Increase awareness of nutrition, physical activity, and appropriate healthcare related to health and obesity.
-Improve individual and household attitudes toward health and wellness.
-Improve access to nutrition, physical activity, and appropriate healthcare services related to health and obesity.
-Increase advocacy for healthy nutrition and physical activity promotion.
-Aid in the collection, management, analysis, and dissemination of data related to health and obesity among key stakeholders in St. Joseph County.
-Increase behavior change and increased participation as an outcome of ROC-supported initiatives.
Mission To promote healthy lifestyles in St. Joseph County through the prevention and reduction of overweight and obesity in adults and children.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't Forget Fall Classes Start Wed

Thanks to Potawatomi Conservatories for hosting the Unity Gardens Fall

Season Educational Series! We are confirmed for Wednesday evenings
6 to 8pm

Sept 21 Putting Your Garden to Bed Presentated by
Mitch Yaciw / Purdue Master Gardener

Sept 28 Garden Planning plan your spring garden Presentated by
Mitch Yaciw / Purdue Master Gardener

Oct 05 Healthy Harvest and Proper Proportions Cooking Demo
Presentated by Robin Meleski / St Joe County Health Dept

Oct 12 Preserving Your Harvest - Dehydrating
by Tammy Baker

Oct 19 Cooking from the Garden- Cooking Demo

Oct 26 Preserving Your Harvest - Canning Safely

Nov 02 Healthy Cooking - Managing Dietary Fats

Nov 09 Health Cooking - Managing Dietary Salt

Nov 16 Cooking from the Garden

Phone 574-315-4361

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Random Garden Thoughts

      I often have days that as I drive home I think what a unique thing the Unity Gardens are . Many people ask " is it about free food for poor people " My answer is " no its about free healthy food for everyone " . My next response is " its about you , and I talking "  The gardens are about so much more than food .
     I often see reports on kids not eating healthy food , yet in the garden I see kids enjoying fresh food right off the plant . LaSalle Academy is a prime example . When I go there to work with the students in their garden they can't get enough vegetables . They are like sponges wanting to taste everything . I think we all assume that McDonalds is their food of choice . When if presented with healthy food choices the outcome may surprise you.
    I meet a guy that works for the city . He tells of his time as a migrant worker in Texas picking tomatoes for 5 cents a bushel . Not complaining just saying coming to the garden reminds him of his youth . He offers to bring out some special watermelon seeds to plant next year . he leaves with a bucket of green tomatoes .
    Staying on the watermelon theme , at the very same time a couple offers to bring in watermelon seeds that will grow 140lbs watermelons. They enjoy the garden because it reminds them of the gardens from their childhood . They leave with a bag of Tomatoes , peppers , and radish .
    A couple guys stop by to look around . One of them had visited the first Unity Garden on Franklin Street . They like vegetables , and leave with some Okra , and Eggplant .
       It goes on like this day in and day out . Some many people so many stories !  People getting together , learning about growing , about eating , and each other

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall Is on its way

     While things are still very active at the Unity Gardens its clear that fall is right around the corner . This is the time we start to put our garden to bed . We have planted our fall crops , and as our warm weather crops die off we pull the plants , and cover up the area with cardboard and  leaves or grass clippings . Its been a long hard summer . We have had on average 500 people a week harvesting in the LaSalle Square garden since May . The number is more than likely much higher at LaSalle Square . Then if you add in all the other 40 Unity Gardens in town the numbers increase dramatically . Unity Gardens has helped supplement a large number of people with fresh healthy food , but its more than that . With all the kids programs , garden tours , and garden , and cooking classes Unity Gardens educates the community on growing , and eating healthy food . Then there is the social dynamic of bringing diverse people together to enjoy the outdoors , and the common bond we all have with eating .
    Its always bittersweet as we head into fall . Cool weather feels nice , but the days enjoying the garden are numbered . Enjoy it while you can !!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

North Liberty Garden Intern

"High school scholar spends summer growing more than vegetables at Unity Garden in North Liberty!.... Kirsten Brown, a top senior student at John Glenn volunteered for helping Unity Gardens. She took over the garden leader position for Will Groves during the summer. Kirsten first volunteered during the year attending various public presentations, volunteering at events, even manning the kids booth at the LaSalle Square Luau! When summer hit Kirsten was ready, tending to the North Liberty Unity Garden, securing volunteers, and even getting a substitute while she was in Germany! The garden looked great all summer, but what was most evident, is that Kirsten Brown was able to nurture and"grow" her leadership skills! Community organizing is not easy, but Kirsten did a spectacular job, taking a first year Unity Garden and making it successful!" Most recently, Kirsten delivered fresh veggies, complete with sign over to the North Liberty library, a brilliant way to increase community involvement for next year!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Update From Madison Square Unity Garden

This is an update from Madison Square Unity Garden
Unity Garden Leaders Rock !!
Sarah and Mitch -- I've missed you lately! But I should be in the garden much of Tuesday if you'd like to stop by. Have a few vacation days.

Things are going pretty well but it's hard to keep food available, people come daily and especially right now, at the end of the month.
Today, two women came and got the last of the collards that were big enough, and green tomatoes. Yesterday I left a big pile of green beans on the picnic table and they were gone before the day was out, the ladies and I found a few more handfuls today so they could take some ...
.. So I've planted more, and for cold weather. Here's what the garden looks like and what's in it now:
    Several of the neighbors tell me they enjoyed some corn -- I had an ear once or twice, though it was usually gone -- but that plot is replanted as peas now. They're just starting to break the soil. I also put a few rows of kale there but the seed was old, I'm waiting to see if it takes. (Cleared the old stalks and some other piled up stuff out this weekend, so most things look real clean ... But there's always a weed pile under the tree).
   Next plot: The green beans are still going pretty good so they stayed where they are, and they've done so well I'm doing more beans next year. Some insect damage to leaves, and wet/heat root spots, but they've always fought back of their own accord and beans have loved their space.
  Third: Okra's getting used as fast as it grows, and I planted six new yellow squash hills awhile back, they're doing really well, along with a few rows of carrots in that plot. Just planted alternating new rows of spinach over there too. It's a place that works for a bunch of things so far.
 Fourth: Picked all the lima beans on Sunday, still waiting on potatoes because they were way too small. Seriously thinking about moving some to tubs. That plot has a little spinach coming along in it too. I tucked some in the shade over there several weeks back, so they're slow but ...
Fifth: Cucumbers have suffered a little but continue to bear, I have one in the fridge and folks took the rest of them, everything on the vine is little right now but still flowering and growing. Several weeks ago I planted several new cucumber plants to fill in before it was too late to put them in, and they're growing OK. That's a very shady spot which has been both a curse and a blessing to the cukes at different times, I guess.
Sixth: This plot went in late, after Martin's shut down the greenhouse. Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, all behind the others but they're bearing. Planted new mustard greens in between the rows over there (mustard greens did great, but were tired and seedy -- pulled out the old ones). Man walking by took a whole bag of mustards the other day, after I'd pulled up the old plants and taken them home and cleaned them for folks to use.
Seventh: Zucchini did really well, and I know there were some to take late last week -- they were gone over the weekend though.
The plants were hurt some during that really hot humid spell, and -- along with the cukes, pumpkins and others in that family -- got a bad case of powdery mildew. So I sprayed with a milk/baking soda treatment, cut the zucchini back and have watched their new growth come in pretty healthy. Still a little worried about them, there's a few plants with root damage, but there's plenty of flowers and new little zucchini growing fast.
    The acorn squash, sigh, people keep taking them when they're just WAY too small. I give up, I will never see an acorn squash really ready.
   But I gave up on being frustrated about that. If I'm there -- and at some point every day, I am -- then I tell people to wait, or this is ready, or whatever to help them learn. If I'm not, I figure if they need something that badly even though it's so small, I can't imagine how scary that hunger is.
   I often send people to you because it's such a large garden, or to others nearby like Zion. But Nettie, who stopped by today, tells me she went to McKinley and it was pretty cleaned out. She used to do the Mt. Carmel one at church, but she's not sure they have one again this year ...
Anyway, except for a few truly damaged plants, the zucchini has healed better than I thought it would, and cooler dry days have helped a lot.
Eighth: The collards are just hardy as they always are, and -- like everything else -- have always been harvested, even when a few times early on before the garden caught on, I did it myself and took them to one of the older neighbor ladies. She has been thrilled to have them each time. I also planted cabbage and cauliflower for the fall in that plot, since the new mustard greens went elsewhere and that space made more sense.
Ninth: Green peppers never finish growing before someone takes them. I've only ever had one myself all summer, and that was because it was damaged. (Usually if I take stuff it's because it's got a scar, or funny shape or soft spot or something.) They are doing OK too, I just weeded that plot and saw a few small peppers on the plant ... Guess no one else saw them so far ... I've also planted some onions in that space again.
Ten: Tomatoes, which have been a battle. Next year I want to use cages even though I don't like how they look, simply so it won't be such a fight to keep them up and keep them healthy ... But tomatoes are always flying out of the garden, usually green, people ask for that all the time. That was another thing I just got used to, at first I felt, like, can't they ripen? But if people love them green and eat them green, then that works for them.
That border needs weeding, and so do the streetside melons, but everything else is pretty cleaned up. And, obviously, pretty cleaned out too.
There's still a row of cornstalks near the northwest corner, but that's because they have black beans growing up them and some squash plants and pumpkins in the bed below them, so I've left them alone ... I need to spray those squash and the melon for mildew and hope to on Tuesday. There's also a small lettuce patch people are using near the strawberry/raspberry patch, and those plants are happy and have done pretty well.
And a patch in the back where there's small honeydew melon still growing because I don't think anyone knows they're there, under the tree ...
    Things haven't been perfect. One Sunday afternoon there was a SWAT standoff down the block on Madison Street! And I've had trouble with a volunteer or two who feel that it's not fair to share with other people who just take stuff without making any time or work contribution, who aren't effective about making others feel as welcome as they are. Sometimes I talk to new people -- this happened one night when neighbors John and Lisa came down for the first time, and took some corn -- and that may mean I'm not paying as much attention to a neighbor who comes routinely. One guy I swear was doing drug deals on his cell phone while hanging around, so I just stopped talking much and he drifted off after a few weeks.
When that stuff happens I explain the Unity philosophy -- but as always, I find that good people make the difference. When the lawn mower got stolen, Dave let me borrow his. Which was a good thing, because I hate the garden lawn not being cut and the appearance ever being unkept.
    Billy doesn't work in the garden, but stopped and gave me a drink one day because I looked hot ... I think it's important to talk about the plants and everything, but the people are always more important to me. I walk home in tears sometimes because the need is so overwhelming. The other morning it was a Latino guy who works for the Streets Department, I forget his name, he said used to be a migrant worker based in Brownsville Texas ... He mostly just wanted to talk but took some of the beans and I forget what all with him. Last week, as some nasty storms rolled in, it was two different ladies I'd never seen -- said they've come several times -- filling bags with food until the first raindrops fell ... So I asked them what they wanted, since I usually do ask people, I'm planting this or that, what do you want more of? They said cabbage, so. I planted it. But I think right now if you checked?
There's always green tomatoes, and whatever beans we missed ... There's some lettuce, and tiny cukes and melons that aren't ready yet ... There's a handful of collards ... But everything gets harvested and? Even the kids stop and get stuff when they get off the school bus now.
I feel blessed to be a part of this, and since I'm home Tuesday, if you guys want to stop by I should be around the garden or home. And remind me to get you recipes -- I just had a great green tomato gumbo for dinner tonight, and made an underripe melon stir-fry the other day ...

I've missed you!


Reducing Obesity Coalition Events

Reducing Obesity Coalition hosting Cooking from the Unity Garden and a Family Fun Fest!  3 Cooking from the Garden events at 3 different Unity Gardens . All Free to the Public

September 2nd 5 to 7pm
Cooking From the garden
 at Zion Church Unity Garden

September 4th 4pm to 7pm
Cooking from the garden
at the Garden of Saint Therese

Friday, September 09, 2011, 05:00pm - 07:00pm
ROC UR Body Family Fun Fest
Howard Park

Be a ROC star by helping The Reducing Obesity Coalition of St. Joseph County in the fight against childhood obesity! Join us for a family night of games, cooking demonstrations and play games with University of Notre Dame athletes!
The first 100 people to register at will receive a FREE activity kit for the family!

September 24th 11am to 1pm
at LaSalle Square Unity Garden
Cooking  From the Garden
3701 Prast Blvd
For more Info call or e-mail

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Unity Story

Here is a story from our youngest garden leaders. She took on her project from start to finish. She attended all the Unity Gardens classes this winter . She also presented the plan to the church board , and members. Its an incredible story of sharing . Many folks have came to me with stories of what the have harvested from Elizabeth's garden . Let's hope a whole generation of people can learn gardening skills from this fine example.
Hi Sara!

The garden has been growing very well and I have officially earned my Girl Scout Gold Award
I was interested in earning my Girl Scout Gold Award and my Girl Scout troop had been working with a journey book about food and growing gardens. At that time the Girl Scouts also became involved in helping the Unity Gardens by planting marigolds and sunflowers to ward off the animals that eat the gardens. My Girl Scout troop became more interested in the Unity Gardens and I helped with a service project at Camp Millhouse in which we planted a Unity Garden for the campers there. Then the church which our Girl Scout troop meets at was interested in having a garden there too. Since I like to garden and the church wanted a garden, it seemed like a great Gold Award project. So I put together a Unity Garden for the church in which we are growing tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, carrots, radishes, and onions for the church members to help care for and share together.
Elizabeth Arndt

Friday, August 19, 2011

Growing Community at Unity Gardens

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The visitors at LaSalle Square Unity Garden often symbolize our mission in many ways.  Today was a perfect example.  As usual, we have a constant stream of harvesters and veggie donors visiting all day.  Come evening the real "rush hour" begins as this garden alone often hosts between 50 and 100 neighbors every night! 

In order to keep up with the Unity demands I have begun to have my business and community meetings at the garden.  Today I met with landscape architects from Whiteman Petrie to share our plans and systems, then the Saint Joseph County Health Department to discuss how we connect people to the vegetables here and to plan an on site Reducing Obesity Coalition event.  During the meetings we saw over a dozen harvesters, and 3 neighbors dropping off extra harvest from their yards. 

Those gathered shared recipes, talked about their histories with gardening and even had some tasting tours!  The photo captures Robin Melewski sharing her basil with Wendy, a new connection grown.  After, as I was leaving, I bid farewell to Wendy, still harvesting, Kim, a previous garden leader, and new neighbors all gathered to enjoy healthy fresh food from the gardens and couldn't help but reflect on what had really grown here today!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Facebook Post

This is a facebook post by a neighbor / Volunteer at the LaSalle Square Unity Garden

Yesterday, around 1:30 I was at the garden and there was a bunch of people dropping stuff off from their own gardens. I picked all my cabbage that was still good and filled two big containers that I placed on the share shelf. There were three 2ft long or longer cucumbers, lots of cherry tomoates, green bell peppers, and much more. When my mom and I stopped back by around 5:30 to drop stuff off, the shelf was almost empty!

A lot of the people that talked to us were saying that they bring stuff 1-2 times a week because they don't want it to go to waste. So, now we know there IS a lot of food being dropped off beside whats being picked. I just came back from there again about 3:30 and there was 1 bucket of cabbage leaves, 1 cucumber, some carrots, some green beans, and some baby tomatoes left from what was dropped off yesterday. :)

This is what the gardens do ! Bring people together , Sharing , Growing , and being a community .
" We are growing more than vegetables here "

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Unity Story through A Different Perspecitve

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The following was sent to me from new Unity Gardens board member, Jill LaFountain.  I asked her to describe "why Unity".  Her response requires no further introduction!

I am thankful to be joining the Unity Gardens Board of Directors.

I first became acquainted with the Unity Gardens while volunteering one afternoon at the Potawatomi Conservatories. It was then I met Mitch and Sara. Both had such a passion for gardening. I was fascinated by their energy and excitement for gardening. As I talked more with them I realized their idea of gardening was not the same as mine. I thought they were passionate about dirt, seeds, plants and harvesting in the literal sense. But after talking with them I soon realized the Unity Gardens was about more than the food produced by the Unity Gardens. It is about something much bigger, it is about community, pride, planting seeds of hope,and harvesting good things from each individual. We find value in ourselves, our neighborhood and our community. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew this is something that is a vital need in our community. One seed has all the potential in the world to grow and feed a community.

For centuries gatherings around food is a worldwide ritual. From the smallest of homes to the largest castles, people gather together to share a meal. Food brings people together. The Unity Garden brings fellowship to our community on a daily basis while filling the most basic needs every human has to live. Food for our bellies and food for our souls. Indeed, Unity Gardens slogan, "Seed more, feed more" is a powerful statement.

My name is Jill La Fountain. I am a wife, mom and community servant. I am humbled as I look forward to serving with my friends at the Unity Gardens.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Voting Starts August 12th 5:01 PM

Please vote for us , Click the Force Logo on the Right >>>>>>

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Unity Garden at Zion Story

I am often asked why I am so committed to the Unity Gardens, what keeps it fresh and exciting.  During the heat of the summer, when things are tugging at me in all directions, growing food, presenting the story, answering e-mails, pursuing funding, I even ask myself that question!  Then, when I get too hot, too tired, or a bit discouraged, one of the garden leaders, volunteers, or harvesters will share a story that helps renew my commitment, reminding me that "we can't afford not to" share and teach people how to care for their health through fresh produce. 

 All Unity Gardens have struggles, especially first year Unity Gardens.  The Unity Garden at Zion had transitions in garden leaders last year and had less community involvement than desired.  The produce was mostly donated to a nearby food pantry.  People within the congregation and neighborhood liked the idea of Unity Gardens, but did not fully understand the connection with the greater community. The garden was one of the last planted.

This year was different!  The congregation asked for a Unity Presentation early in the year.  With the enthusiasm of the entire congregation, and strong leadership of an avid gardener, the garden has been a symbol of all that Unity Gardens represents!  I am proud to share the following e-mail that Helen Giglio, the garden leader at the Unity Garden at Zion, just forwarded me the following e-mail.  Thanks to all my Unity Garden heroes, like Helen for growing more than vegetables here!   Sara
Unity Garden at Zion

Dear Sara and Mitch, Sorry I was not out at the big garden this AM...I did something dumb to my knee Monday so I am trying not to overdo.  I wanted to share something wonderful.  I was out at the Zion garden Monday and a mom with a baby in a stroller and an older daughter walked by, I invited them to come in and pick some tomatoes and gave them a bag...they picked a bunch of stuff as another lady strolled over, I gave her a bag and she picked tomatoes, peppers and squash, and then a car drove up, a couple came out with bag in hand and got some green tomatoes, peppers and collards. So, neighbors have been watching the garden and are ready to pick fresh food.  I have some bags and a plastic sharing shelf ready to take over today!  Helen

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Week at LaSalle Square

This week I spent everyday , planting , watering , and weeding . Hoping that I can provide some vegetables for everyone who stops by the LaSalle Square Unity Garden  . The plants keep giving , but its harder , and harder to find things to harvest .  The flow of people into the garden is so heavy even I am surprised . A man and his wife stop in and say we are homeless , and hungry can you help. A gal who has had cancer just wanting healthy food . Large families , and retired folks all stopping by . We all have one thing in common ...we all eat .
      So this week just like last year my motto is " Seed more feed more " . Sat was sort of the apex of the week . We were busy , and folks just kept coming . We are hoping some home gardeners will bring extra veggies from their home gardens , and drop them off at our shaded shelter . Lots of folks looking for healthy food .

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ravina Park Grand Finale!

South Bend Fire Dept waters the Unity Garden & the kids!

Veggies for salads!  No left overs today!
Our URC LAMP kids program at Ravina Park has ended for this year!  This program was made possible with collaborative partners: Neighborhood Resource Center , United Religious Community, IVY Tech, South Bend Parks Dept, and area neighbors!  On Wednesdays and Saturdays neighbors and friends gathered to eat and play together.  On Saturday garden programs were held, raising awareness and appreciation for veggies, harvesting, and planting. At first many were tentative, not wanting to eat things right from the ground. By today, even the youngest participants were enjoying their own salads and waters!

But as usual, we were not only celebrating healthy eating, we were growing something more!  We enjoyed meeting neighbors who wanted to hear about how to get more involved with Unity.  It was great to introduce them to the firemen, other garden leaders and many of their own neighbors!  I was amazed to note that we had 6 different Unity Garden leaders at this celebration, supporting one another in their "growing" efforts!  All were sharing their stories; Laureen about the sudden influx of harvesters throughout her Madison Square Unity Garden, Rey discussing the successes Monroe Park has enjoyed, now in the 3rd season, and Tina, who helps keep the harvesters at LaSalle Square from going hungry when we have no more to pick at her nearby Garden of St Therese.  Heather shared ground hog tips with Ricky, who has a recent unwelcome harvester lately!  As I hear these and others share their visions of Unity, it is evident our community has truly come together in amazing ways to grow health!  Thank you all for supporting Unity Gardens and each other!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

JFNew Open House

Mike Keen's Sustainability Presentation

Purple Cone Flowers

JFNew Seed Drying , and Seed Sorting

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Headlines From The Garden

LaSalle Square Unity Garden
3701 Prast Blvd
South Bend

      Greens Beans . It seems like we have an endless Supply of Green Beans at LaSalle Square . Every time I think they are all gone we find more . I have also planted several more rows of beans to bring in a late harvest before winter . Our Mustard Greens are suffering in all this heat , they keep going to seed . I continue to plant more for late summer harvesting . The Squash Bugs are out in force at the Garden , but the Zucchini is hanging in there for now .
     We are having lots of Harvesters out to the Garden . Many of them rave about how great the garden is for the community . One man who lives in Beacon Heights is bringing me Dinner Friday as a way of thanks . Our Thursday kids program at LaSalle Square is bringing kids closer to the earth . They love eating fresh from the Garden, and enjoying the great outdoors.
    Ravina Park also has a great program on Wed & Sat where they are serving lunch to between 50 , and 100 kids , and providing them with activities in the park , and the Garden .
     I am again amazed at the amount of community support we receive in the way of kind words , and garden volunteers . It lets me know the gardens are a good thing .

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

    So its Hot , Dry , and your garden is full of weeds the size of trees !!  Your garden is producing a bounty of good food , but you are feeling a little burned out . Its the dog days of summer . All gardeners put much thought, and effort into their garden from the time the first seed catalog arrives in December !! until now . You have picked the perfect seeds , started them with love in your kitchen window , and you waited for the perfect time to put the plants in the ground . You prepped you garden fighting the rain , and cool spring weather. You watered , and weeded and mulched . The harvest are great , but areas of you garden are looking a little run down .   Remember you garden is a living changing thing . So I am always looking for areas to refresh in my garden . If I have a row of beans I look for areas things are not growing , and plant more beans . I take down my lettuce that is going to seed , and plant Zucchini . Its also a good time to clean-up areas to get ready for fall planting , or even start thinking about next years garden. YES next years garden . I like to clean up an area I plan to plant my fall crop in , and cover it with cardboard , and Grass clipping or leaves . Then when I am ready to replant a fall crop I just pull back the Cardboard , and plant . I plan for next year by cleaning up sections & doing the same thing , so in the spring they are ready to plant no tilling !! 
        So keep your garden fresh , and ever changing !!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Unity Donor

Once again, I was struck with a "Unity" moment. They are the unexpected times when someone shares with you a personal story, or offers help. I am often struck by the generosity of those who have very little. I was visiting Broadway United Methodist Parish today. Thought I would catch up with some old friends, have some great coffee, and take a look at the Unity Garden there. One of my friends, Johnny, actively cares for the Ravina Park Unity Garden. We always enjoy talking about the gardens, sharing any Unity Garden news, and just catching up in general. He was telling me about what was harvestable, how long he watered, and then he really surprised me. He asked if we accept donations for Unity Gardens! Of course, I explained and a little goes a long way toward purchasing garden supplies! We both went away feeling good about our work in the community; our shared commitment to make our community a little better, one vegetable at a time!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Unity Spirit

Just a quick story . Yesterday a older man called to see if there was a Unity Garden near him that he could harvest some food for himself , and his wife . We directed him to call Suzanne Ricky at the Albright Bright Church Unity Garden. The cool thing is She offered to harvest, and deliver ....Now thats above , and beyond . Unity Garden leaders rock.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What to do when its this hot

Hydrate yourself ...Hydrate your garden . Don't stress if you see you plants looking a little waxy on the leaves , and the leaves wilt , and curl a bit . Its just your plants defense against the hot weather .

Many plants will slow or stop production of fruit during a really hot spell . But not to worry they will pick right back up when it cools a little . What is really important is to keep up with the water . Not too much water , about a inch a week. Most experts say to water long & deep as opposed to watering a little at a time . This is said to promote deep root growth. Some things you do not want to do when its hot . Don't bother putting down any herbicide . The plants waxy coat , and defense against the heat also stops the herbicide from entering the plant. Also no insecticides , they may burn the leaves . Last of all no fertilizer , or very little . Again the plants are slowing their growth so they don't want that boost .

This is a great time for weeding & Mulching . Weed , Water , then mulch . Use leaves or grass clippings with a few layers of newspaper underneath . This will help retain water in the soil during this hot time .

Remember Stay Cool

Happy Gardening

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We are Approved !!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kids Program

This Weeks Kids Program We Made Scarecrows for LaSalle Square Unity Garden , and Ravina Park

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leadership Camp

For the last 3 garden seasons Saint Mary's has let Unity Gardens be a part of its spiritual leadership camp . Its a summer camp that high school Seniors come to from all over the Midwest to learn about spiritual leadership . One of their days includes spending the day working in the LaSalle Square Unity Garden . The day starts with Sara going to Saint Mary's , and giving a powerpoint overveiw of Unity Gardens . Next its a bus ride to the Garden . We break the group of 28 girls into 3 groups Heather , Kate & Sara each get a group . First its tasting tour of the garden . Next the weeding starts . Heathers group heads over to the East Garden to weed , and put leaves between the Tomatoes , and peppers . The rest weed in the Main Garden . The Girls get alot of weeding done before they break for lunch . After lunch the work is a little more casual . They have time to Sample the Mulberries , and play some games . It was a great day. We all learned somethings , and the garden looks lots better !!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Muessel School Unity Garden is a new Garden for 2011 So far it looks like its working well . Its always a challenge the first year of a garden . The soil is often rough . The volunteers sometimes don't know what they are getting into . But right from the start Kevin the Garden leader has been on it . Getting neighborhood involvement , Planting , weeding , and keeping the Garden looking good . He also sees the needs to make sure everyone knows they can enjoy the garden .Last time I spoke with him he was already thinking about next year !! That's a success story .

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ravina Park Unity Garden
ravina park
All of the Unity Gardens differ in their framework, and their size, yet some things remain the same. Today, at the Ravina Park Unity Garden (1511 Dale St) I was struck by the similar community building evolving in this garden.
The Ravina Park Project is much more than a garden program. The United Religious Community, the Neighborhood Resource Center, and many neighbors have joined Unity Gardens in creating a kids program designed to "grow" community in this neighborhood. We have a Unity Garden, there, but we also have a craft program, activities, adult supervision, and lunch/ snacks.stories, and more.

Every Weds from 2pm to 6pm and every Saturday from 11am to 3pm area kids come to play, eat, and enjoy. On Saturdays we host a garden activity at 12:30pm to teach the kids there about gardening and eating from the garden.

On July 9th we enjoyed harvesting and eating radishes, mustard greens, and green onions. Just like at the other gardens, it is delightful to watch as the kids light up realizing they can try things straight form the garden! They are often hesitant until I remind them; if you don't like it, spit it right out! I think they often enjoy the spitting as much as the tasting!

We also planted pumpkins, zucchini, summer squash and cucumber in large colorful pots. The kids and adults learned how to re-use empty water bottles to create a drainage system, cover them with dirt, then plant seeds.

What then happened prior to and after the kids planned activities reminded me of how "we are growing more than vegetables here" throughout our community. One volunteer came by to see what we were doing as he had heard about the Ravina Park project in a meeting in Elkhart. Another neighbor walked by, and I invited her to harvest some mustard greens. She said, "Really?" and was so excited as I taught her how. Two others came by to see what was growing, and discovered there was another Unity Garden right where they lived! We even enjoyed a visit from a Tribune reporter who still wasn't clear on the sharing part. It is often the most challenging aspect of the gardens; teaching people it is safe and works to share! Thanks to all who help continue to "grow" community here!

Walking the Garden

Every morning I walk the LaSalle Unity Garden just to see what I need to do in the garden . So I know the Garden pretty well . Today was my first day back from a week vacation , and my walk was amazing . The first week in July is grow time in Indiana . The Zucchini grew a foot , the green beans are loaded !! Of course the weeds are growing well , and the bugs , and bunnies are eating well . So now its back to work . Heather did a great job caring for the Gardens while we were gone which was great , but still plenty to do . We had some volunteers show up , Austin hilled the potatoes , Tammy weeded . We have lots to harvest , and more folks are showing up everyday. So we will continue to plant , weed , and harvest .

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Heathers First Solo Volunteer Day At LaSalle Square

Just a little update on my first solo volunteer day!

Connie and Austin were the only volunteers to show up, but we weeded like no tomorrow. I weeded out and grass clipped the whole section of tomatoes that had that very crooked row of peppers in the middle! Looks very nice now. A few people showed up just to walk and to pick, I helped them pick green beans (YUM!) and peas. One took green tomatoes (of course) but he said he was going to set them in his window to ripen. People just can't wait for yummy things to arrive!
There was an older man who stopped and talked and was simply AMAZED at the garden. He told his story of how his parents had two empty city lots and would grow potatoes, tomatoes, peppers etc. He enjoyed seeing everything so lush and seemed to like the New Life Soil idea, saying that, himself a fisherman, he and his wife used the inedible fish parts in their own garden. It was so very rewarding to see such gratitude and excitement. He and his wife said they'd surely visit often!

I also seeded carrots in the row that's been picked and a row of mustards.

We are doing great!


Friday, July 1, 2011

The Power of The Garden

In a recent conversation with someone in the garden I was trying to explain that providing free vegetables was just a very small part of Unity Gardens mission. We want to bring diverse people together to share the garden. We all eat , and we are all born from this earth, so what better place to come together than a garden. We want to educate people on how to grow their own healthy food , and how to prepare healthy food. We want to make sure everyone has access to healthy vegetables. Most of all we want children to understand where their food comes from .

One thing I have learned is the power of the garden. As we began our kids activities day out at LaSalle Square Unity Garden my thought was we need things to keep the kids involved . What I discovered was the garden is all they need . Garden Tours , tasting vegetables , looking for bugs, discovering the Mulberries . Our connection to the Earth is natural and the kids love it. They leave the crafts , and storytime behind , and dig in the garden and enjoy. What better way to spend a morning.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Green Thumb ? " What Happened ?"

Here's an update on Madison Square Garden, the Unity Garden at Madison and Walsh streets:

Martin's Greenhouse on Western Ave . donated some flowers and vegetable plants, and we planted both over the weekend.

There's two new honeydew melon plants, to add to our expanding fruit selection: strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe and watermelon are all planted and growing too. One neighbor to the north said they'd try to get us some grapevines, so I'm thinking about where we'll put them.

And when I explained to one of the kids that if we planted an apple tree this fall, it would take a few years before we'd have any apples she said: "Well, then you better hurry up ... ."

Six of the eggplant were put in, thanks to help from the same Madison Street kids. They're in a section where we added more tomatoes and a few peppers too. Last weekend, the children planted pumpkin seeds near one of the corn plots, and we're waiting to see how they're going to do.

As for the corn, neighbor Linda said she can't believe how tall it's getting. She helps to lead the small Grace Bible church on the block in McKinley and said her members are helping to keep an eye on the garden, too.

It's great to see how the garden builds community: Neighbors stop by, cops and firefighters and bus drivers wave, people on bikes say hello. Steve came by Saturday and said he's sorry he doesn't have time to garden with us, but he promised to bring us his grass clippings. Perfect!

Valjean helped me to weed beans and potatoes on Saturday, and we harvested mustard greens and collard greens. The first official tomato has been picked too. OK, not the first -- there were two others -- but it was the first that the children helped me to find and then took home with them.

I told one of the kids that Valjean sure has a green thumb, and the girl's eyes got big and she said: "Really? What HAPPENED?"

So we had to explain what that means ... It was one of the best things I've heard in a long time ...

Elsewhere in the garden are zucchini and acorn squash plants that have really taken off, and a plot of cucumber hills. I've seen fuzzy baby cucumbers starting to grow, and it looks like there will be zucchini before long too. The marigolds seem to be keeping the rabbits away. So far. We'll see.
Okra was an afterthought, but we put in a row and they're coming up nicely. They're in the same place you'll find spinach, carrots and radish rows. And I'm told now that some of the onions were really garlic plants. So I guess we'll just find out, because I forget which came from where ...

With the flower donations, we were able to clean up a little on the southwest corner at McKinley, plant a small border and create a container planting for the newly painted picnic table.

And with more rain forecast (!) it looks like Monday will water itself again.
Regular volunteer times are 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 4 to 7 p.m. if you'd like to come by.

Have a great week,


Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 Luau At LaSalle Square

The head count was over 300 for this years Luau at LaSalle Square . This is the 2nd year for this Fundraiser / Social gathering . We had great Volunteers come out to help setup , and run the boothes . There was face painting, Book readings , games for the Kids . Lunch Cooked on the Grill . Tours of the Garden , Music , and free flowers for everyone to take home and plant . We had folks from the neighborhood , Garden leaders from other Unity Gardens , City & State leaders come out to enjoy the garden, and learn more about the gardens. It is way more than free food ! The gardens bring people from diverse backgrounds together . We have kids programs to bring kids in contact with healthy eating , and adult education on growing , and eating heathly food .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

South Lake Unity Garden

While visiting the South Lake Unity Garden I spoke with a young man from the neighborhood . He ask about the Unity Gardens , and offered to help out when he could . He told me he has a small garden at home . He harvested the first cucumber ! The southside garden is getting lots of visits , and dispite the rough soil, and weeds its growing well . Cabbage is ready to Harvest , and we are just days away from having Zucchini . I see the neighbors are harvesting , Kale , Lettuce , and Cabbage all ready . I am liking the South Lake Garden , and look forward to watching it Grow .

Monday, June 20, 2011

LaSalle Square East

Thanks to a great donation from Jean at Martins Greenhouse we are filling a large section at the East Garden with Tomatoes and Peppers , about 150 going in just beyond the Family Plots

This weekend & next

Busy weekend , we had a booth at EcoFest , and also had a volunteer day out at LaSalle Square . We are having more people show up to work every Saturday . Lots of weeding , and putting down Mulch . Even a Quick Break to pick Mulberries . We also had some folks donating some plants, and as always we had harvesters picking , lettuce , greens, radish , and peas . I was happy to see one of the students that was in one of the classes we did at LaSalle Academy came out to the Garden to show her mother , and harvest some Kale .

Lucky we missed the rain for both events .

Coming up this weekend is our Luau at LaSalle Square June 25th - 11am to 2pm . Tickets are $ 10.oo each . You can pick them up at Fiddlers Hearth , Junk Evolution , Marigolds , and C & B Optical One

Also Fiddlers Hearth is Hosting a Farm to the Table Event Saturday Evening .

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Touching Story

Hey Sarah and unity members,

I wanted to share a story with you about the Keller Park Garden. This past Sunday we had a neighborhood block party. During the party a man was picking some lettuce. Ryan (the church pastor) walked down introduced himself and invited him for dinner at the block party. The man asked if it was ok to pick and Ryan overwhelming said yes, please pick whatever is ready. He then asked Ryan if he could share a story. Last summer he lost his job. He has a wife and 2 kids and they rent a home just by the garden. For about 3 months they were broke and had no idea where they were going to get food. He and the kids were out walking one day and came upon the garden. From that day on they ate pretty much only from the garden. I never once saw him or ran by him but he came every day and picked so that his family could eat and they would have money to pay bills. I always wonder if people pick or if they use the garden but after this story i am sure they do, and that it brings good things.