If you've kept in touch with the Indianhead Community Action Agency (ICAA) over the past seven years, you are fully aware of their excellent summer garden project.
If not, here's the skinny.
An amazing and generous man, who wants to remain anonymous, networked with Dawn Schliesmann, head of ICAA to help provide fresh produce for their food pantry that's held weekly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and the third Saturday of each month.
He offered his four acres of land for planting that came with all the water they needed for the season, and plants and seeds and everything Dawn and her volunteers would need in order to grow the produce that would be given away free to those in need. It was a great deal of work for everyone who tended the four-acre plot. But, the project was a huge success with the total poundage increasing each year culminating in ten thousand pounds of garden produce last year.
But alas, this benefactor is feeling his age and has had to pull the plug on this project.
Never one to be discouraged, Dawn is moving on, but in another direction.
"This project is too valuable to be abandoned," said Dawn. "The accessibility to FRESH produce is important to the health of our clients, and it's an opportunity for so many people who use our food pantry to learn how to prepare or preserve the fresh produce. We've had cooking demonstrations and handed out several recipes for the fresh foods. Because the cost of produce is often high in the grocery stores, it's often skipped when there is limited income. But we have had excellent results with introducing the produce, and because it's free, recipients give it a try."
This year, Dawn has a new way to keep fresh produce available for the public. She calls it GROW A ROW. The name speaks for itself. She would like gardeners throughout Washburn County to grow extra produce and donate it to the ICAA food pantry.
Some of the favorite food items that would be welcome are, zucchini, beans, onions, potatoes, cucumbers and dill, cabbage, squash, tomatoes, carrots, and corn.
By opening the gardening project to the public, Dawn hopes that they might even see fruit like apples or berries or rhubarb donated.
Growers can bring their produce into the Connections Store and More located at 608 Service Road in Spooner, preferably by 9a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, but anytime would be fine, they will be grateful whenever it comes.
Dawn also has an open offer to anyone who would like to come and share recipes or demonstrate how to use the fresh produce each Tuesday morning or Thursday afternoons and says that this would be a perfect venue for the new Master Gardeners who need to do a certain amount of public service time to get their certificate.
Last year United Health Care donated an outdoor griddle for the Fall Harvest Event where everyone was invited to come out and eat freshly grilled garden vegetables and sample salsa's, vinaigrette's, and baked goods. She's hoping they will be able to do the same thing this year, but it's entirely dependent on the generosity of the private gardeners.
For more information, feel free to call Dawn Tuesdays through Saturday at 715-635-3975 and if you've never visited the Connections Thrift store, stop in and be amazed at what they have for sale.