- Author: Brenda Roche Wolford
These classes impart an array of useful skills onto beginner gardeners, potentially translating into positive outcomes, such as improved diet and savings on groceries.
What to do with all of that home-grown produce?
With funding from the UC Agriculture Sustainability Institute - Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, we were able to incorporate nutrition lessons and cooking demonstrations into the 4-week garden series by training Master Gardener volunteers to deliver Fresh from the Garden lessons into low-income community gardens. This is a resource that was designed to increase gardeners' knowledge of healthful eating habits, while emphasizing the health benefits associated with a vegetable-rich diet. Each Fresh from the Garden lesson features preparation and tasting of a healthy fresh vegetable recipe. Through these lessons, the beginner gardeners learned how to store, prepare and cook a wide variety of home-grown vegetables alongside the gardening instruction.
Reaping the benefits of vegetable gardening
Through this project we have demonstrated promising results with the combination of gardening, cooking and nutrition instruction. We plan to continue the delivery of Fresh from the Garden in the coming year through the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in coordination with the Master Gardener Program. CalFresh (formerly Food Stamp) participants are allowed to use their benefits to purchase seeds and plants for household consumption, which opens the door for exciting possibilities for this program!