Overview Introductions of Community Garden Crew Food Security- why community gardens?(Mike) Rock County Farm Community Garden rental garden overview (Deb) RECAP / HUBER Garden Program 2006-2009 (Jim) 2009-future (Barb) Rock County Community Garden Network (Robin)
Food Security Food insecurity rate in Rock County is high Unemployment (>10%)
Rental Plots ~140, 20’x25’ plots May 1-Oct 31 $25 per plot Initial tilling and water provided
Rental Plots Why are you participating…? Enjoy gardening (25) Don’t have space at home (25) Fun (28) Exercise (24) Save money (16) Chance to raise own produce (28) Enjoy meeting other gardeners (16)
Rental Plots How many people benefit…? 1-5 people (4) 6-10 (17) 11-20 (4) Many shared with food pantries
Rental Plots How much money did you save…? Less than $50 (6) $50 to $100 (11) $101 to $200 (7) More than $200 (2) Not sure (3)
Rental Plots On a scale of 1(low) to 5 (high), how important is the garden? 1 (0) 2 (0) 3 (1) 4 (9) 5 (19)
Rental Plots “… getting fresh vegetables that I know are chemical free.” “… gardening connects all ages and incomes and creates community of sharers…” “… fresh air, fresh produce…” “… gives you the chance to work in the outdoors with your family and the satisfactions of growing your own produce…”
Rental Plots “… I feel with the cost of food rising a garden is a good way to provide for the family…” “… it feels good to be able to have a garden…” “… it is an important family activity that allows parents and kids to learn together…” “… I enjoy working in the soil with my hands. It’s so rewarding to see the product of my work…”
Rock County Farm Community Garden RECAP / HUBER Garden Program
RECAP Garden Program Started in 2006 USDA Grant (2006-2009)
Initial Program Ideas Teach gardening to jail inmates MGV selected and hired to be garden educators Nutrition education segment added later In response to need to feed participants Utilize harvest in kitchen to offset meal preparation costs County went to caterer that year; produce not wanted by subcontractor
What Really Happened Program evolved into reinforcing life-skills development taught in RECAP. Communication, following directions, team work, responsibility, success, etc. Preparation for vocational placement. Outside of green industry Diversionary activity for when released. Reduce recidivism Produce donated to area food pantries (80%) and other county institutions (20%)
Impact "Getting out of unit and away from same four walls - keeps my mind occupied and not think of bad stuff." Steven. “My wife and kids go to Echo [food pantry]. Even though I’m in here, I still feel like I’m providing for them.” Chip.
Impact “I need to be a good role model for my kids… I like that the garden gives back to the community…” Chris. “I already know how to rototill… it’s now learning how to work with others.” Gary.
Impact “… vegetable soup really ain’t all that bad! I did not pick anything out of it and I ate it all. I would NEVER even try it had I been on the outside.” Tammy. “There was noticeable improvement in attitude after the inmates ate the vegetable soup for lunch in the unit.” Lyle Yaun, RECAP Community Service Coordinator.
Impact “…before this, my idea of cooking was going through the drive thru at McDonalds." John. “…I never knew where food came from. When I get out, I want to go to culinary school at [the tech-college]." Ebert.
Impact "I learned how to enjoy life's simple pleasures." Carlos. “…I never had a garden before but would like to have one now that I know more.” Carl.
Impact “It’s good to actually do something positive with my life. It has showed me there is a lot more to life than drugs.” Josh.
RECAP / HUBER Garden In 2009… Expanded from 0.5 acres to 1.5 acres HUBER participation began WIC Farm Markets initiated CFSW / Rock County Agriculture Fund Grant Season extension / row covers Compost bins High tunnel GOAL: to be self-sustaining
Community Garden Network UW-Extension and members of the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association provide support, education, and networking opportunities to individuals and groups who facilitate independent community gardens in the county.
Community Garden Network Merrill Park (Beloit)
Community Garden Network Wilson Elementary School (Janesville)
Community Garden Network What we provide: Collaboration with area vendors for seeds, transplants and other donations or discounted items. Assistance with the creation and maintenance of the garden space, including tilling, soil testing, and amendment recommendations. Necessary participation waivers and statistical documentation sheets. Support and information. Access to grants (when available) and assistance in pursuing funding and donations. In qualifying cases, a nutrition educator can provide an educational component to the garden.
Community Garden Network What we ask of community garden partners: Documented permission to host a garden in an appropriate location. Qualified, dedicated liaison to coordinate garden efforts at the location Reliable support from students, congregation, or community-base for the general work in the garden space. Access to water and basic tools (shovel, hoe, hose, gloves, etc.) Form a reasonable plan for utilization of product grown in the garden. Willingness to document program, including photographs, participation numbers and demographics and amount of produce harvested and how utilized. Share information with Rock Co. UWEX. Participation in meetings and education programs.
Community Garden Network Over 20,000# donated, to date.