Summit County community gardens donate food to more families through partnerships
August 15, 2014
The kids tasted bright red, edible flowers and chomped on snap peas. The moms watched their children pull carrots out of the dirt to eat and poke broccoli surrounded by leaves bigger than dinner plates.
They all asked questions about the foods and how to grow them.
About five families participating in the county's Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) visited Nancy's Community Garden in Frisco Wednesday, Aug. 13, to learn about where their food comes from.
WIC is a supplemental food and nutritional program through the county's Public Health department designed to improve the health of women, infants, and children at nutritional risk. The service provides low-income Summit County families with nutrition education, breastfeeding resources, health care referrals and supplemental healthy foods.
WIC director and dietitian Whitney Smith said this summer the program expanded its partnerships with the four other community gardens in Summit County and has increased the number of local families that receive donated produce from the gardens. In August, the program also started offering hands-on garden tours for the families where the kids can take home small pots of dirt and seeds to plant.
High Country Conservation Center intern Keith D'Angelo led the tour Wednesday and WIC educator Emili Garcia translated for the Spanish speakers.
For the last five years, the program has been involved with the community gardens, and each year all the produce grown in the WIC plot is donated to WIC families along with nutrition education that promotes increasing fruits and veggies in families' diets. One of the WIC program's priorities is expanding options for physical activity and improved access to and awareness of nutritional food.
For the past three years, Alyse Piburn, owner of Mountain Roots Garden Care, has donated seeds, time and expertise to help maximize the yield of food grown for WIC families.
In 2013, Diana Reznikoff spearheaded a community food donation program where other plot holders in Nancy's Community Garden could donate produce to WIC families.
Since the first harvest at the end of June, WIC has provided 61 families with fresh, local produce.