Avivo and A Backyard Farm create community garden and learning experience

Gardening in March? It might be a little bit early, but Avivo and A Backyard Farm are already strategizing about how to produce the most food and the best growing (and learning) experiences for Avivo’s Community Support Program participants this year.

“There’s more to growing food than just creating a garden,” says Joan, co-owner of A Backyard Farm. “The other piece that’s equally important is teaching people how to be successful… I tell my farmers that whatever we grow is a byproduct.”

“There’s more to growing food than just creating a garden.”

Avivo’s community garden was created in 2018, with raised-bed planters constructed to ensure people of all ages and abilities could access the benefits of gardening. “Last year’s results were impressive, in terms of both harvest quantity and lessons learned about food,” says Wanda Baas, manager of Avivo’s Community Support Program in Minneapolis. “We had daily harvests, with dozens of tomatoes, squash, and peppers… There’s a lot of value and a lot of lessons in learning to grow your own food.”

Joan plans to expand on those lessons learned in 2018 about food and gardening. She wants to create a direct connection between Avivo’s participants and nature, while also teaching them how to grow their own food.

“They saw the first sprouts and said, ‘I’ve never seen this.’ Their reaction when the plants started producing was really awesome… I get goosebumps.”

The availability of a dedicated garden space is already making an impact on people’s lives, according to Wanda. “I took some of our Community Support Program members out to the garden two weeks after we’d planted last year,” she says. “They saw the first sprouts and said, ‘I’ve never seen this.’ Their reaction when the plants started producing was really awesome… I get goosebumps.”

Creating a connection to nature and to low-cost food is important, but another goal for the garden at Chicago Avenue and 19th Street in Minneapolis is relaxation and relief. 2019’s garden will also become an art garden, thanks to artwork created by artists in Avivo’s ArtWorks program.

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