I just learned this today: there are master gardeners around the US who maintain gardens for the purpose of experimenting and teaching. Started in Seattle in the early seventies, 48 US states have a master gardener program, often supported by the university system.

Near Seattle in Clallam County, Washington master gardeners use their demonstration garden to research organic practices for local growers. They grow broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, beans, peas, onions, garlic, beets, raspberries, Marion berries, chard, radishes, carrots, Mizuna, bok choy, turnips, and four kinds of potatoes. That must be one beautiful garden!

Their bounty resulted in more than 1,200 pounds of fresh, local produce for The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen – this season alone. The Port Angeles Soup Kitchen serves 50-100 people, five days a week. They use the donated produce in meal preparation and to distribute through their food bank too. See the story in the Peninsula Daily News.

McMinnville Garden

McMinnville Garden

In partnership with the Yamhill County Master Gardeners, The Salvation Army has its own community garden in McMinnville, Oregon. Located about 35 miles from Portland, the garden grows produce for The Salvation Army’s food pantry and for the garden members’ own families. Memberships and the sale of herbs, flowers and plants grown at the garden pay for operations. To find out more about The Salvation Army Community Garden in McMinnville, please visit their blog.

Do you have a community garden where you live? If not, I can’t think of a better time to start one (recession, America’s expanding waistline, etc!). So, how ’bout it?

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