Spend Yourself® Gardens
Story of the Week
We had approximately 36 food pantry clients attend our third Nutrition Class from 8:30 to 9:30am on Saturday, March 1st. The clients learned how to read food labels and shop for less at the grocery store. They also enjoyed sampling nutritious brown rice topped with yogurt, shredded cucumber and coriander leaves.
Cold weather doesn’t stop avid gardeners and dedicated Columbia students and their leaders. On Saturday, March 5th seventy dedicated students built a new 40’ by 4’ raised bed for our sprawling cucumber and squash plants; emptied 48 EarthBoxes, broke up the frozen soil and pulled out roots and weeds; turned over the soil in the current raised beds and added lobster compost and constructed frames for our potato towers.We need more volunteers on March 15th to fill our new raised bed and to finish and plant our potato towers.
About the Spend Yourself® GardensSince 2010, the Spend Yourself® Gardens have demonstrated to Food Pantry clients how to grow vegetables and have supplied vegetables and herbs to the Food Pantry.
Since 2010, we have added two gardens at the Falls Church Campus, one in the vacant lot by our 301 Building (301 Garden) and one near our Child Development Center (CDC Garden). Using 32 Earth Boxes, we planted maintained and harvested vegetables and herbs in our 301 gardens, and the CDC staff, parents and children planted maintained and harvested vegetable and herbs using 16 earth boxes in their CDC garden. Our youth have built ten additional raised beds for our Crossroads garden bringing the total to fourteen. During 2013, two Boy Scout Eagle candidates completed Eagle projects to level the ground and put down new ground cloth at our 301 gardens and build a shed for our Crossroads garden.
In 2014, there are various ways you can join us in helping us grow fresh, local produce to share with families who visit the Food Pantry:
Water, weed and harvest produce from one of three Spend Yourself ® Gardens for a week or more. To sign up for a week contact the Lay Leader below.
- DONATE LEFTOVER GARDEN ITEMS
Are you spring cleaning or downsizing? Our gardens can use your excess tools. To arrange for drop off contact the Lay Leader below.
- HOME GARDENS
Donate a portions of the produce from your home garden to the Food Pantry. Contact the Lay Leader below for convenient delivery options.
- PRODUCE INPUT
On Saturday mornings a team of volunteers is needed to process produce delivered by Spend Yourself® and home gardeners for distribution to food pantry clients. Duties include receiving produce from gardeners, weighing and logging produce and packaging it for distribution by food pantry volunteers to clients. Contact lay Leader below.
- PRAY For our volunteers, clients and the gardens.
Classes take place the first Saturday of January through June
from 8:30-9:30am at our Food Pantry locations. Directions
In a cooperative effort with The Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Spend Yourself® Gardens offers free Nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations to teach our Food Pantry clients and the community how to eat better and use the vegetables and herbs provided through our ministry.
Our third 2014 Nutrition Class went very well. We had over 36 people attend and the clients asked good questions and enjoyed the class. We need additional volunteers monthly to help with food preparation for cooking demonstrations and passing out nutrition information to the clients.
THE GARDENS' NUMBERS
Through December 31, 2013 we provided the Food Pantry with 1,330 pounds of produce from the pounds of produce from the following sources:
- Crossroads Spend Yourself® Garden
Pine Ridge Spend Yourself® Gardens
301 Spend Yourself® Gardens
Other Community Gardeners