Growing your own food is a great way to improve nutrition, as well as increase levels of physical activity and decrease stress levels. Fresh whole foods like fruits and vegetables generally have more nutrients than foods that are processed, pre-prepared, canned, or frozen. But they are usually more expensive, especially if you wish to purchase ones grown without use of chemicals.
Growing some of your own food is an affordable way to access healthy fresh foods. Food can be grown year-round in our mild climate. Seeds cost pennies yet produce an abundance of food. Having even a few pots on a windowsill or porch can produce lettuces, spinach, radishes, and carrots. Seeds and starts can even be purchased with CalFresh (formerly food stamp) benefits. Seeds and starts are sold at many local grocery stores and Farmers Markets that accept CalFresh benefits. Farmers Markets often offer bonus dollars just for using CalFresh there – and starts from local farmers are more likely to be varieties well suited for our climate. Due to changes in the application process and eligibility requirements it is easier than ever to apply, and many people are now eligible for CalFresh and do not even know it. To find out if you or a family member qualifies, please call (877) 410-8809 or visit www.c4yourself.com. There are also many local resources for growing food, including classes, workshops, and books. And there are numerous community garden spaces for those people who do not have suitable yard space, who rent, who are houseless, or who just want to grow food with other people.
Community gardens are a great option for growing more of your own food, as they provide a place to garden and resources for doing so. Community gardens are spaces for people to grow food together. Many are neighborhood gardens where families and individuals rent plots for a small fee that covers water and overall maintenance of the space. Some gardens are structured more communally, where everyone tends and harvests the beds together. Some community gardens are dedicated to growing food specifically to donation to food distribution programs like food pantries and shelters. All provide opportunities to learn with other local gardeners, who are often the best resource on varieties of plants that grow well here, pest management strategies, and tips on local products like fertilizers or soil amendments. Many gardens encourage sharing seeds and harvests, and have resources like fertilizer, compost, tools, books, workshops, and even on-going classes. Community gardens can be an excellent way to access land, materials, and knowledge for gardening – all in one place!
If you are interested in joining or starting a community garden North Coast Community Garden Collaborative (“NCCGC”) is a great resource. NCCGC is a support network of and for community gardens and their supportive partners who work together to increase access to healthy, fresh, and culturally appropriate foods for all North Coast residents. NCCGC aims to connect gardeners to each other so they can share seeds, knowledge, tools, and labor, and also to educational and material resources in the community including workshops, classes, local businesses, University of California - Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners/Master Food Preservers, and resident expert gardeners. NCCGC works with over 50 community gardens, mostly in Humboldt County but with growing numbers in Del Norte and Trinity Counties. A volunteer steering committee guides NCCGC’s development, with representatives of local community gardens, Redwood Community Action Agency, Food for People, University of California Cooperative Extension, Open Door Community Health Centers, and Westside Community Improvement Association. For more information on how to get involved with local community gardens please visit www.northcoastgardens.org or call (707) 269-2071.
Gardening not only offers affordable healthy foods and lifestyles, but it is also fun for the whole family. Enjoy the fruits (or veggies!) of your labor with the “Chickpea Dip” recipe listed below – it is healthy and easy to make. Kids can even make the dip by mashing the ingredients together inside a re-sealable bag! Substitute a blender or even coffee grinder for a food processor. The recipe is listed below and available at http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov/recipes/chickpea-dip.
-- Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
-- Serve at room temperature with pita chips, crackers, carrots or other dipping vegetables.
Wednesday April 16: Gardener "Meet and Greet" This month's Community Gardener "Meet and Greet" is on Wednesday April 16 from 5:30 - 6:30 pm at the new Eureka Community Health Center, 2200 Tydd Street. Come network with local gardeners, talk with local experts, enjoy yummy food, and get free gardening resources. Come early for North Coast Community Garden Collaborative's monthly meeting from 4:30 - 5:30 pm- anyone is welcome and we welcome your ideas! The Center is located on Tydd St off of West Ave, behind the CVS on Myrtle and West Avenues. Please email Debbiep@nrsrcaa.org or call (707) 269-2071 with questions or for more information, and hope to see you there!
Saturday April 19:
Sustainable Living Skills Fair
The Sustainable Living Skills Fair from 9:30a to 4p at at Jefferson Community Center (1000 B St) in Eureka will offer workshops, demonstrations, and resources on growing and preserving food, reducing waste and energy consumption, increasing soil health, rainwater catchment, and much more. Admission is FREE and lunch and supervised play area for kids provided. Donations welcomed to enable access for all. More information is available at www.jefferson-project.org. Bring the family to come celebrate Earth Day and build community!
Local Garden News
Rio Dell Community Garden
More gardeners are welcome at Rio Dell Community Garden. The garden has a number of beds and donates some food to the local food pantry. The garden also has a fruit tree orchard and berry bushes. For more information on how to get involved please contact the Rio Dell Family Resource Center at (707) 764-5239.
Garden of Eatin' in Eureka
There are still plots available at the garden, located on South and Central Avenues in Eureka next to the CcalVary Lutheran Church. To rent a plot or learn more please contact Suzanne at (707) 839-1560.
Main Season Plaza Market Open Main season Farmers Market returns to the Arcata Plaza! Stop by Saturdays from 9a to 2p to get fresh produce, eggs, plant starts, meats, mushrooms, honey, and more. Bring the whole family and CalFresh benefits to use at the Market.
Gardening Gazette is a free publication of North Coast Community Garden Collaborative, a support network of and for community gardeners working together to increase access to fresh, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods for all North Coast residents.To learn more please visit www.northcoastgardens.org, email DebbieP@nrsrcaa.org, or call (707) 269-2071.
You received this newsletter because you expressed interest in learning about the North Coast Community Garden Collaborative.