Growing Food for Families in Need
“I used all my veggies right away after last appointment. I used the cilantro with beans, green onions with avocado to make a type of pico and ate all the carrots raw.” – Grow to Share, WIC recipient
In 2014, avid Nancy’s Community Gardener Diana Reznikoff approached HC3 with a problem we needed to solve. Every year, the community gardens were producing excess food that people either composted or gave away to friends and neighbors. What a great problem to have! The challenge was how to get that “wasted” food into the hands of families in need. Partnering with the local food and nutrition assistance program, Summit WIC, as well as the Family and Intercultural Resource Center’s food banks, HC3 was able to formalize the Grow to Share food donation program. With generous funding from the Anschutz Family Foundation, Grow to Share expanded to serve 360 families in 2016.
Grow to Share’s goal is to collect excess produce from both the community gardens and the Summit CSA. This food is delivered to residents along with nutrition and cooking information provided by our program partners.
This program has opened a new dialogue around nutritious eating for residents who struggle with access to healthy food choices. Workshops and garden tours round out the education for participants, providing additional information about where food comes from and how it’s grown locally.
One participant, Nereyda Hernandez, enjoyed the vegetables she received at her appointment. She used the locally grown chives in eggs, put assorted greens in a salad, and added carrots to a soup. “The veggies were fresh and had a better taste then the ones we buy in the store.”
At her WIC follow-up appointment, a Breckenridge mother explained that she used all the vegetables she received from Grow to Share. Since attending a workshop held at the gardens, she has been buying more vegetables at the store. This supports a growing body of evidence that suggests families exposed to healthy eating are more likely to continue the habit into the future.
Maria Perez Vargas tells us that she liked receiving the veggies because they were organic, and her son enjoyed the radishes. She thinks that the Grow to Share program is a good idea. “I liked the veggies and am excited for the garden this year.”