Chattanooga Area Food Bank's Annual Garden Tour this weekend
The Chattanooga Area Food Bank's Annual Garden Tour is the weekend.
The fundraiser helps support education and outreach programs like gardening.
One school is using a class project to help feed many in the Tennessee Valley.
GPS juniors Haley Haren and Rachel Hadden enjoy working in the garden. They've helped plant, tend and harvest cabbage, tomatoes, beans and okra. The Chattanooga Area Food Bank helped the school start the program last year. It was an immediate success and soon expanded. Haley and Rachel are part of an environmental science class that added more raised beds and a compost bin to the garden.
This is more than a grade for class. Rachel says, "We harvest them and take absolutely everything to the Food Bank." "Last year, they donated 500 pounds. That's amazing!" added Jane Mauldin, Garden Coordinator for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.
The students' hard work helps the Food Bank provide fresh, nutrient rich food many of their clients don't normally have access to. Mauldin says, "It often coasts more and they don't have grocery stores close." Gardens like the one at GPS help provide nearly 2,000 pounds of fresh produce. "I love taking it in to the Food Bank, especially when there is a family there and I get to see what I brought in go to a family", says Rachel. Mauldin says "edible landscaping" is a growing trend. "You can grow beautiful things and have them feed your family too."
If you think you have a green thumb but aren't sure what to do, the Food Bank offers classes and volunteer opportunities to get you started. "You're just coming out and working with us in the green house. We start seedlings in the greenhouse. We transplant to the bed. We're harvesting year around.", says Mauldin.
And whether you raise the food your family or for those who are food insecure around the Tennessee Valley, your hard work will pay off. "Food that's grown here locally, fresh produce is the best you can offer.", adds Mauldin.
The 26th annual Garden Tour helps fund educational outreach programs like the one at GPS. The tour is Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2 and features six gardens. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at any of the garden sites. You can find a list of those here.