Thursday, December 27, 2012

What A Year

What an interesting year it has been at Unity Gardens! One of my favorite times of year is at the cusp of the New Year; a time to reflect on the successes of 2012 and a time to mobilize for all the new plans for 2013. Unity Gardens is known for growth. Growing vegetables, growing increased community cohesion, growing opportunities for everyone to be engaged in their community, and boy do we have the plans coming!

It is clear we are indebted to the community for the support we have received! There are so many ways people have helped us grow: monetary donations, in-kind gifts, publicity, and participation. We are so grateful for all the ways people involve themselves in Unity! In turn, it is clear we have a huge responsibility to continue our programs and mission. Through hard work, focused attention, and faith, we will continue to serve as the community guides us.

Our greatest emphasis for 2012 was our Outdoor Classroom/ Growing Health Program made possible with the support of the Community Foundation of Saint Joseph County, Memorial Hospital and many others. This ambitious program created the infrastructure at LaSalle Square Unity Garden to begin on-site education. Our expectations were high, but the reality was even better! The educational area hosted 18 different families, representing 5 countries! The summer kids club held every Saturday hosted 15 to 20 kids enjoying garden play, scheduled activities, and tasty garden treats! The outcomes from this project were unforeseen; growing a new community of people working together! Our families and kids shared their food on the sharing shelf, with passer-byes, and with each other! The program also launched our new model for neighborhood revitalization! Additionally, due to the generosity of Peace Bees, we added bee hives to 2 of our Unity Gardens and now sell local honey! Our bee keeping was so popular, we are adding an in-depth program to grow bee-keepers in 2013.

In 2013 our focus is all about enhancing our educational programs. Our Growing classes, starting in January will have added content and a new venue on Thursdays (The Potawatomi Conservatories), our Junior Master Gardeners classes will focus on vegetable gardening, and our specialty classes add bee keeping and back yard chickens! The Unity Gardens 2013 Greenhouse project, made possible by the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, includes adding on-site growing houses/ green house, season extending raised beds, composting stations, aquaponics demonstration systems, and solar energy in order to increase our sustainability. True to Unity Gardens style, we already see our first sprouts in the growing house!

The community looks toward Unity Gardens for growing community, a task we are prepared to do through our new, Neighborhood Enhancement Project. Look at our new website for more details regarding this exciting new hybrid Unity Gardens model designed to bring neighbors together to work toward their own neighborhood solutions. We are truly growing more than vegetables here!!
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

New Website

Sorry if we have not been keeping up the Blog as well as we should but we have a new Website with all the new Info , In the future we will try to keep info on both sites

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Planting

The planting will begin this Saturday on Unity Gardens Native Planting Area at LaSalle Square. The project was started this spring but was scratched because of the hot dry weather. The plan developed by our intern Myles Robertson is partly research an partly developing a more sustainable garden by encouraging pollinators. The large 300' x 100' plot is divided into 50' x 50' plots. The plots will be planted in 4 different ways to see how the native plants grow in each of the 3 planting styles. The plots can be used by IUSB for research , and will also be used by Unity Gardens for education purposes.
All the seeds and supplies were donated, and the work will be done by volunteers.Supporters and donors for this project include The City of South Bend, Indiana University South Bend, Cardno/JFNew, and Jay Duley
Come watch us grow !!
Checkout our website

Friday, October 26, 2012

A thought about Taste of Unity

On the drive home from the Taste of Unity I reflect on the evening and think how great it is to have such awesome community support. My thoughts drift to how a successful fundraiser brings us closer to our goals in the garden, but then I start to think about the bigger picture. Our mission statement of not just providing healthy food, but also about education, and growing community.
I think what makes a successful event is that can raise money while achieving our core mission then its a win for everyone. My conclusion is that yes we did achieve both goals. The theme of the evening as I spoke with many of the guest was how it was so fun meeting new people, and maybe even sitting a a table full of people they did not know. Education yes of course the Ivy Tech Students learning from all the other chefs. Everyone learning more about Unity Gardens, local food and more. What a great night we could not be any prouder of our community over 400 people made it out to enjoy a great evening.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thanks ACF & Ivy Tech

What an Awesome team donating to the Unity Gardens Taste of Unity Harvest Celebratioin !!

Our booth will be consisting of strong forces in our food community including the South Bend ACF Association, ACF Chef and Child Initiative and our local Ivy Tech Community College Culinary Arts students. We come together many times in the community including events such as ArtBeat Downtown SouthBend, Michiana Chili Cookoff, Junior League Chef Showcase, Taste of Unity Harvest Celebration, Holiday Culinary dinner for the public as well as on-campus luncheons provided by Ivy Tech students. Chef and Child provides after school events in our local schools teaching all about healthy options using fun games and making a snack. Each group has their own strengths and responsibilities but when culinary talent, knowledge, creativity come together the possibilities are endless. Our partnership with Unity Gardens started when Sara, visited the Nutrition class at Ivy Tech and shared how Unity Gardens began and how it has grown. We look forward to celebrating the uniqueness we all bring to growing our own community, together.
The ACF South Bend Chefs and Cooks Association is dedicated to promoting the professional image of cooks and chefs through education among culinarians at all levels - from apprentice to master. A non-profit organization, the American Culinary Federation's mission is to make a positive difference for culinarians through education, apprenticeship and certification, while creating a fraternal bond of respect and integrity among culinarians everywhere. For more information on what our local South Bend chapter is doing, check out and keep up with us on Facebook -South Bend ACF Chefs & Cooks Association.

Chef and Child is all about educating children and families to understand proper nutrition through community-based initiative led by the American Culinary Federation chef members and to be the voice of the culinary industry in its fight against childhood hunger, malnutrition and obesity. Check out or contact Chef Alan Seidler at

Ivy Tech Culinary Arts Department is training individuals with a passion for food. The Hospitality Administration program provides the skills to be successful in the hospitality industry which is the largest private sector employer in the U.S offering exciting, fulfilling career options with excellent advancement opportunities for those who possess the passion and willingness to work hard and serve others. For more information please contact

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Uptown Kitchen / The Mark

Chef Brad Curtis grew up in Bay City, MI. He inherited his love for food from his Grandfather and older Brother, who encouraged him to always try new things, which he has passed this down to his own son today. Food was always been a big deal, bringing family and friends together.
Chef Brad began as a dishwasher and worked his way up through nearly every kitchen position. He has been an active part of the Michiana culinary scene for over a decade. Throughout his career, he has continued to express and explore through creativity in the kitchen, maintaining the ideal that food, friends, family and laughter should go hand in hand. He still keeps to the lesson from his grandfather Ted and is never afraid to try something new!
Spring Rolls !! Yum !

Center Plate

Chef Bio
Chef Tonya McGowan
I started in the restaurant industry 18 years ago as the salad bar girl at Wendy’s from there I worked as a food runner, busser, and started working on the cooks line at Spaghetti’s Italian Kitchen.  After starting the ACF Apprentice program in 2000 I worked in many more establishments from Marriott Hotels, local restaurants, to Dining Service Director in senior living community. Currently I am Executive Chef for the Palais Royale since November 2011. I love the culinary business, being able to create edible beauty as well as being a part of a community.
Executive Chef Tonya McGowans menu will be Kale and Jonathan apple salad with fried pancetta and honey coated pumpkin seeds.



Fiddler's Hearth

Look at one of the chef's cooking at Taste of Unity
Locally born and raised, Chef Tony Nafrady of Fiddler’s Hearth Public House is firmly entrenched in the modernist movement of farm to table cooking with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. This approach fits nicely with the Fiddler’s menu of Celtic cuisine based on traditional farm cooking from scratch. Chef Tony cut his culinary teeth in both fast-paced and fine dining restaurants (including Houlihans, Knollwood Country Club, and LaSalle Grill) and likes to take creative license with traditional dishes much like the new wave of chefs coming from Ireland and the UK.”
Fiddler's will be serving Smoked Butternut Squash with Grilled Onions wrapped in Garlic Steamed Kale with a Honey Mustard Cream.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Taste of Unity

Taste of Unity Harvest Celebration is just a little more then one week away. Its shaping up to be even better then last year. 9 chefs on board serving Tapas , a cash bar serving wine and beer, and a great selection of Auction . All for just a $25 donation. If you have not purchased your tickets you can get them at Marigolds Market, Junk Evolution , The Chicory or you can purchase them online at Ticket River
You can also e-mail us at
Phone 574-315-4361

Today's Featured Chef :

Chef Alan Seidler
Chef Alan is a Chef at Notre Dame, a member of the American Culinary Federation, and a friend of Unity Gardens . Chef Alan is also very active in the Chef and Child program. He has taught several cooking classes for us, he runs our Art Beat booth every year . Its always a treat to see what Chef Alan has in store.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Great Weekend

What a great weekend. A Unity Volunteer Sara Lowe decided on her own to have a volunteer day at the LaSalle Square which worked out perfect because we were away at fundraiser. Yes did I say great weekend. How great is it that a the folks at Auto Plus donated time on their day off to do a fundraiser for Unity Gardens. They donated oil changes, and it was a steady flow of folks getting oil changes all day long. At the same time over at Potawatomi Conservatories we were having our 2nd annual Pumpkin sale fundraiser in conjunction with the Conservatories thanks to an Anonymous Donor we have lots of Pumpkins to sell all month long.
      On Sunday it was a chance for us to give back . We participated in a Chili cookoff to help support the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, and the American Culinary Federation. Although our booth did not win the Chili competition we did win best decorated booth thanks to our awesome volunteers willing to wear vegetable costumes at our booth. What a fun weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Post Borrowed from the "Talking Sustainability Blog"

Posts on the food system, from student blog posts and essays assigned in Sustainability Studies course SUST-S360 Just Food: Sustainable Food Systems.

The Personal Journey of a Locavore

With tomatoes from my own garden mixed
 with tomatillos, onions, and hot peppers
grown by local farmers,
 I created a delicious, fire-roasted salsa

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Garden Stories

This week I was reminded about just how much Unity Gardens means to this community. We get all wrapped up in hosting classes, doing events, and holding fundraiser that every once in awhile its good to hear from our community its makes all the hard work worth it.
    Two story's from this week were very touching. The first was from a volunteer working in the evenings out at the LaSalle Square Unity Garden. She relayed the story to me, and trust me the more time you spend in the garden the more you learn. Among the many visitors enjoying the garden there was one lady worried about us taking down the garden early because she has got such good use out of it . She was either unemployed or underemployed and the garden had supplemented her meals so that she could feed her family complete healthy meals. What a confirmation of the good that can be done.
     My story for the week was somewhat similar but very different. Whether this sounds good or bad the expectation is that of course we need gardens on the urban west side of  South Bend because the unemployment rate is high and the need is high. Well I disagree people have problems everywhere, and most of us are just one step away from being homeless. So my story is from the far south side of South Bend at the South Field Lake Garden on Miami Rd just South of Kern. I was there and I noticed a thank you card in a plastic bag stuffed behind the sign. I read the note. It was from and unemployed woman who used the garden on a regular basis to help keep her head above water. She went back to school and is searching for a job. Sometimes when we fall on hard times or just are having a bad day its makes us feel part of a community just knowing that someone we don't even know is willing to plant a garden just so our day can seem a little brighter.
       Now we know that there is more to growing a community free healthy food in the garden is just a band aid. That why we teach people how to garden. What could make you feel better than to grow your own healthy food ? We teach classes on preserving your harvest. How good does it feel to taste the fruits of your labor in January ? We teach kids programs because they are our future and have lost contact with how their food is grown ! We teach healthy cooking classes because it feels good to cook a meal from your garden. We hold a 5k run and a bike tour because we know good exercise habits grow a healthy community.  We offer community plots so if you do not have the resources to grow a garden we can help. Its all one giant puzzle we must piece together to build the strong bones of our community. We love our community.
" We are growing more than vegetables "

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Always Something Going on at Unity Gardens

Some weeks when I try to plan my week I think its amazing how much Unity Gardens can pack into a week. This week is no different. My week started off with ordering a 20' x 48' Low Tunnel so we can get started on 4 season growing. Of course there is always work to be done in the garden.
     Next its time to put the final push on for the Chase bank facebook contest which ends Wed Sept 19th at Midnight . Vote now if you have not yet ( see our facebook page ) Chase Contest facebook link  . Monday morning I meet with the father of an Eagle Scout that wants to start a Unity Garden as his Eagle Scout project. What an awesome thing that is . Its just another example of how Unity Gardens continues to bring folks together. If the Scouts approve his project he will be taking a vacant city lot and transforming it into a area for neighbors to meet, and grow not only healthy food, but healthy friendships.
Everyone enjoyed tasting Joe's
fermented vegetables
    On Tuesday evening we hosted a fermenting class as a part of our cooking and preserving series.
Joe Gady a organic farmer, fermenter, and vendor at Purple Porch put on the class. It was a good turn out and a great class. If you missed it you can test Joe's product at the Purple Porch 

Next its back to work in the garden. Then this Saturday its our Run Toward Unity 5k Run/Walk

I guess you can see where I am going with this. Early on we coined the phrase " We are growing more than vegetables here " Our goal is not just to grow a garden full of free vegetables, but to grow a community. Bringing people together in a healthy way. Every strong community I have ever visited shares one thing they have lots of healthy options for its residents. So we plan to continue to help build a healthy community.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Vote For Community

A vote for Unity is a Vote for your community. Its just a fact that urban gardens enhance neighborhoods. But it can also help feed the hungry, provide job , build relationships between diverse groups, and help educate the community on how to grow and prepare healthy food. All we have to do is get in the top 196 to get a slice of the total award Chase Bank is giving out . If you are a Chase customer you can vote online at the Chase Community Giving Link
or you can vote on facebook with this Direct Facebook Link
We need more then just your vote please share this with your friends and explain the need for a healthy community


Our Little Hoop House

With the help of some Notre Dame students putting this hoop together and digging out an area for it, and then other volunteers helping to fill the beds and plant it. We hope to extend the season on many cool weather crops , and do a little testing on getting things growing earlier in the spring . On Saturday we put in our first seeds Kale, Mustards , Radish , Collards , and for fun a Basil , and Tomato plant . Hope to keep the harvest going as long as we can. This is just a small version of the large high tunnel going up in October.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Possibilities Endless

Imagine a Solar Powered Discovery Center
I always like to say we did not create the Unity Gardens to be Sustainable, but that we are sustainable out of necessity. As we grow out at the LaSalle Square Unity Garden it will become necessary provide some heat for our new greenhouse , power pumps for our aquaponics tanks,and lights for our discovery center. So how do we do this and still keep the cost of providing healthy food low. Well today we met with Vince and T J with Inovateus Solar . They are willing to guide us and support us with our needs as we grow. Things to think about off grid vs on grid , what are our requirements now and how will they grow. Some thoughts are to create an off grid system to power our first greenhouse , and maybe look into a future solar array that could maybe even have a payback to Unity Gardens. Both options make our project more sustainable. This is so exciting we can add an educational component and show the benefits of Solar Power. Imagine what the future holds.
Check out Inovateus Solar

Imagine an Storage area that provides energy
A garden that grows more than vegetables
Imagine this Carport as an outdoor farmers market
outfitted with solar panels to power our greenhouse
Charge Electric Cars ?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Need You

We need your vote !  Unity Gardens has been anonymously nominated for an online voting contest by Chase Bank. The voting starts Sept 6th and if you are a Chase Bank Customer you can vote on the Chase Bank Website  or you can vote on Facebook

Unity Gardens will win a share of $ 5 million in grant given out by Chase Bank . This is really important to us and our community . In 2008 when the first Garden was planted in a vacant dusty lot in downtown South Bend we never knew how things would progress. It quickly became apparent that the Gardens a much more then free food. It building community, education, growing healthy food, and more. The money will help us to continue with our Kids Club, Adult Cooking , and Gardening Classes, Supporting More Unity Gardens. But most of all being in Northern Indiana we are sometimes limited by our growing season. That's why we are embarking on a mission to put up greenhouses to grow healthy food all year long. Aquaponics that will provide a healthy fish protein, and natural fertilizer for our indoor growing. This plan will help sustain the gardens, provide jobs, education, and an abundance of healthy food. We are looking at the Growing Power Model in Milwaukee which is said to produce a million pounds of food on just 3 acres of urban land. We hope you can help us achieve our goals.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

vegetarian minestrone soup

vegetarian minestrone soup        

From the Kitchen of Cara Lupa


Cups vegetable broth
Carrots, chopped
Large onions, chopped
Ribs celery, chopped
Garlic cloves, chopped
Small zucchini, cubed
Handful fresh kale, chopped
Cup dry barley
Can white kidney beans, drained.
1    Tbsp parsley
1    tsp dried oregano
1    28oz can crushed Italian tomatoes
1    tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


1.    Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
2.    Cover. Cook on Low 6-8 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
3.    Sprinkle individual servings with grated cheese if desired.
Enjoy a healthy meal from the garden

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lemony Kale, Pasta , And Pistachio Salad

6 Tablespoons  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Clove Minced Garlic
8 oz Dry Whole Wheat Pasta
4 Cups Chopped Raw Kale
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Pistachio Nots
Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper to taste
1. For Dressing - Combine Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Minced Garlic into jar , Shake Well , set aside
2. Cook Pasta , Drain and put in large bowl
3. Add chopped Kale, Parmesan Cheese , Pistachio nuts ,
4. Pour on dressing , and mix well .
5. Let stand for 10 min

Tips : Season to taste with Salt, Pepper and Crushed Red Peppers
Add Garden Fresh Tomatoes, Candied Pecans , or dried Cranberries to enhance flavor
Use your favorite Pasta

Serves 4
adapted from the Spicy RD

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer Lull

Early Spring at LaSalle Square
I am not sure about how everyone Else's summer has been. but mine has been hot dry and a struggle to have a great garden season. We have battled the critters, the heat, the drought, and the weeds with the result being a great garden season. Now that we are getting some rain and cooler temps we can take a breath and enjoy what we have created. I reflect on a season that started with Garden classes in January, and seed starting in February. Well the students are now gardeners, and the seeds have grown in to mature plants. For me its time to review what went right and what went wrong. Its time to finish the season strong, and start planning for next year. How can I grow more in my garden? How can we better serve our community. From the start we have wanted to grow all year long, and this fall we are looking for funding to embark on a mission to put up greenhouses that will provide fresh vegetable all year long. We want to have our first greenhouse up by October. By spring we want to have a plan in place to get our feet wet in aquaponics that will provide fresh fish as well as nutrients for the food we grow. The future looks bright. With the support of the community we have enjoyed great success.
      What in store for the close of the 2012 garden season

Sept 22nd     Run Toward Unity 5k Run / Walk
Start Time 9am
Cost : $ 20.00 includes t-shirt
Location : IUSB Campus , Student Activities Center.
Phone 574-315-4361
online at

Oct 24     Taste of Unity Harvest Celebration
Help us celebrate the end of the season and National Food Day
Tapas created by local chefs
Silent Auction
Time : 4pm to 8pm
Cost $ 25.00 includes food
Cash Bar
Location : Jewish Federation
                 3202 Shalom Way
                 South Bend IN
Free Fall Cooking Classes

Sept  4th 6pm     Cooking Class / Cara Lupa

Sept   11th 6pm   Canning Class  / Edie Sutton

Sept 18th 6pm      Fermenting Class  / Joe Gady

Sept  25th 6pm    Cooking Class  / Quick meals

Oct 2nd  6pm       Cooking Class / Dehydrating Class / Tammy Baker

Oct 9th  6pm        Cooking Class / Easy Meals
All Classes are located at Unity Gardens office
702 Chapin Street
South Bend
Contact Sara




Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Trip To Growing Power

Growing Power
By Mitch Yaciw
With the Indiana growing season being so short something we have been talkingGP about right from the start has been how to provide healthy food year round. Every year we strive to be more efficient. Well Will Allen has done just that with Growing Power in Milwaukee. on just a little more then 2 acres they provide an unbelievable amount of food all year round . I was lucky enough to tour his facility a few weeks back with a group from South Bend. Composting , Worm Farming, Fish Farming,Micro Greens, Chickens, Ducks, Goats, and Bee Hives all packed into this small urban space. All I kept thinking was this is organized chaos. Using and reusing whatever is available its a testament to sustainable local food production. What does this mean to Unity Gardens ? As we roll into year 4 finding ways to sustain growth and touch more lives is always on our mind. While we are doing great things for the community how can we do more. Some things I saw at Growing Power we are already doing or have plans to do , and there are many practices that we can utilize in our future growth. It was an exciting visit and have look into the future of Unity Gardens. Growing Food,Growing Health, Growing Community , Growing Education.
If your want to learn more about our visit to Growing Power we will be gathering at Purple Porch on Sep 12th at 6:30pm to answer questions about our visit and show some slides of our visit about 7:15 , We should wrap up by 8 or 8:30pm . Bring a snack to share if you like.
If you want to help Unity Gardens fulfill our mission you can donate online on our Blog through PayPal or Contact Sara Stewart at or call 574-315-4361. We are also always looking for volunteers . The only way we can grow is with your support.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Community Building

Today I was in the garden at LaSalle Square and a few ladies were walking through with their dog. They told how cool the bee hives were, and that they lived close and noticed more bees in their flower garden. They headed on their way along the fence where we have the garden to market private plots, and I hear Kevin say to them " would you like some fresh vegetables today" I see this type of kindness in the garden everyday, and it touches me every time. I know there are meeting and committees meeting all the time trying to capture what makes a city a friendly place. Well that's all good , but I know what works I see it everyday. This is how we build community one gardener at a time !

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

National Food Day

Dear Local Food Friends,
National Food day 2012; October 24th! this year I am representing our region as National Food Day Coordinator. It is my duty to help promote and communicate the wealth of food activities and celebrations we may have in our community throughout that week!
Thyme of Grace Spread at Taste of Unity
We already have a strong network of food advocates; from those interested in food security, organics, sustainability, locally grown, and food justice, we have a plethora of expertise and passion! Now is the time to show the nation what we are growing here! Please forward this email to all those in our community that may wish to be involved.
As coordinator I am happy to help connect, collaborate, and promote your events! Unity Gardens is once again hosting our Taste of Unity Harvest Celebration on Oct 24th at the Jewish Federation from 4pm to 8pm, celebrating local chefs and local food. There are ways each of you can be involved with that, but we would also love to promote related activities and events all week! Please share your ideas, plans, and questions with me so I can facilitate our successes!

Joel Barrett Serves up Butternut Squash Shooters
You may also scan for ideas and peruse resources directly through the Food Day website here: ;

To list your Food Day Event Contact Sara

See Local Food Day Events Below

Oct 24th 4pm to 8pm
Taste of Unity Harvest Celebration

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Luau / Blood Drive

Jim and Cara Master Chefs

Party in the Blood Mobile
Luau at LaSalle Square was Saturday and the turnout was great despite the heat . More impressive was the turnout for the blood drive we held in conjunction with the Luau. . The turnout was so good they had to call in back-up to help out . A special thanks to Denise Del Gianni for have the idea to do a blood drive its sure to be a annual event for us.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Unity Gardens LaSalle Square Luau

 Get ready for the 3rd annual LaSalle Square Luau this Saturday 11am to 2pm at 3701 Prast Blvd! Cook out, activities for adults and kids, cooking demos, tasting tours of the garden and new educational area, and Peace Bees activities! 
Join us in the garden to celebrate the height of our growing season!  We gather in the garden at the Luau to celebrate food and fellowship!    Unity Gardens is known for successfully bringing diverse people together in our community for shared benefit.  Meet our team of volunteers, garden leaders, and guests.  Help us continue to grow by attending our fund raising cook out.
  Portabella sandwiches and burgers!
Supporting Unity Gardens and saving lives! We only need 8 more people!   Pre-register for the blood drive here       Enjoy the cook outs and activities!
Cook out meal includes your choice of a hamburger or our famous portabella sandwich, a side and beverage.  Only $10.00
"The Shirt", our new 2012 Unity Gardens T-shirt will be on sale also!
For more information call 574 315-4361 or e-mail

Monday, July 2, 2012

Things We Talk About in the Garden

As I was speaking with a woman out at the LaSalle Square Unity Garden last week I realized again its more than vegetables we grow here. This woman lives in Kalamazoo and comes by the garden when she is in town visiting her mother. I sometimes refer to her as the lady who lost her cell phone in the garden. ( we never have found it )
   As often happens the subject of Varmints in the garden comes up . Deer , Rabbits , Ground Hogs , Raccoons , Skunks and more . Well she tells me that she saves her urine all winter to put around her raised beds to keep the animals at bay . Now while some may think this is funny its the case with all us crazy gardeners save the garden at all cost . I find myself pouring cat poop and urine down the groundhogs hole . Many home remedies include Fox Urine , Dog hair , old shiny CD's hug in the garden, hot Pepper mix sprayed on plants . All of these things work to some degree if you want to avoid the trapping and killing of an animal in the garden which nobody wants to do. Of course this is where I insert a thought. If you plan on trapping an animal and relocating it ...Don't ! its not a good idea to move your problem to some other farm or garden.
   Yes this seems to be the year for animals in the garden , and weeds. Just don't let it make you crazy !! Enjoy your garden, and share a little with the critters.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kids Program

Weed or Plant ?

A Visit to the market
The Jr. Master Gardener / Kids Program continues to be a great success story. bringing in kids from all around the neighborhood . This week we did weed is it a weed or is it a vegetable plant in the garden, also made a visit to the local Urban Garden Market , Made bird feeders , and Macaroni Necklaces ...a Busy day for sure .

Friday, June 15, 2012

This Weekend

Tour De Unity is this Sunday June 17th you can Still sign up the day of the ride starting at 7:30 am ,
Until june 15th you can sign-up online at

We are waving any late registration fees . The cost will be $ 25 right up until ride time , If we run out of t-shirts we will order you one

The Ride will start at 9am from the Food Bank of Northern Indiana

The ride will tour several gardens and end up back at The Food Bank where we will have a Cookout with Hamburgers or Veggie Burgers

Most stops will have water and some will have snacks
There will be a truck following the ride in case anyone has a problem and needs a ride to the finish.
We will have written directions for everyone and ride leaders to help make sure everyone knows the way.
We have also marked most of the the route with green arrows on the road telling you which way to go

For more info

or call 574-315-4361

Tour De Unity

Tour De Unity is this Sunday June 17th you can Still sign up the day of the ride starting at 7:30 am ,
Until june 15th you can sign-up online at

We are waving any late registration fees . The cost will be $ 25 right up until ride time , If we run out of t-shirts we will order you one

The Ride will start at 9am from the Food Bank of Northern Indiana

The ride will tour several gardens and end up back at The Food Bank where we will have a Cookout with Hamburgers or Veggie Burgers

Most stops will have water and some will have snacks
There will be a truck following the ride in case anyone has a problem and needs a ride to the finish.
We will have written directions for everyone and ride leaders to help make sure everyone knows the way.
We have also marked most of the the route with green arrows on the road telling you which way to go

For more info

or call 574-315-4361

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unity Story

A e-mail from a new Garden Leader
Hi Sara,
I am SO very sorry that I am just sending you this now, over a week after we had our big planting event for the garden. Attached are 5 pictures from our big day and we have many more here if you are interested (I just don't want this stuck in cyber space).

 The planting went wonderfully. Mitch provided us with a great variety of plants and seeds so we now have 2 boxes that each have tomatoes and peppers, one box with cucumbers, one box with egg plants, and one box with green beans. We also have one little box with a sign and we planted zinnia seeds in it.

 Today I looked and we have 13 little green bean seedlings growing! I also have an intern and a senior aide prepping the area around the boxes to be completely mulched because the grass was destroyed after a plumbing project this summer.


 Thank you and Mitch SO much for including us in the Unity Garden movement. It is a really awesome opportunity and we are excited and grateful to be involved.

 My work e-mail is and so you can catch me there if you have any questions.



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Community Plots

Last year Unity Gardens toyed with the idea of Community Plots at The LaSalle Square Unity Garden. Traditionally the garden has been open to everyone to harvest . Since we did not want to get away from our roots we had new water put in a area far from the open garden. Last summer we had a few takers for the community plots , and just fair results . So not to ever fail at a mission we decided bigger and better was the way to go. So we wrote a grant for a garden to market/ educational area complete with raised beds, composters, fence , shed, and more . With mostly word of mouth the community plots have taken off . We were looking at doing 6 to 8 people , but the number is at 16 right now , plus a plot for the Jr. Master Gardeners . In addition we have a season extender bed , straw bale garden bed. a Handicap Access bed , 3 different compost stations. , and more to come. What is clear to me is the diversity of people coming together to work in the garden. This out weighs even the healthy food that will come from these plots. We have a ND professor, and his wife from China, a family from Beacon Heights Apts , School Teacher, Landscape Architect, Saint Mary's Social Justice Professor, Jr. Master Gardeners , A guy named Kevin that just Showed up , Bruce who works at Goodwill , Master Gardeners, An IU South Bend intern ,  and I am sure I missed a few. I am so excited to see this grow and take off like a rocket. Growing healthy food , making friends , and learning that's what this is all about. What a great project !!