The garden, located on 621 Elwood Avenue North, was tilled, cultivated, planted, and watered by the children of WE WIN Institute’s summer program.
WE WIN’s summer theme was, “Love, Hope, and Faith Renewed.” What better way to show love for yourself, hope for good results, and faith that the garden will produce great harvest because of the hard work and tender loving care. The children planted an array of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, cabbage, peppers, broccoli, kale, chard, herbs, and greens.
Zion Baptist Church has a strong commitment to the community and youth. For the last three years, the church has partnered with WE WIN to work with children on academics, an understanding of their culture and being of service to the community. The congregation embraced the project by allowing the tilling of the land for the garden and supplied the water. They did everything they could to assist the children in being successful.
Jeanette Lieberman of the North Side Healthy Eating Project played a huge part in the development of the garden. She was the “go to” person for all the questions that the children had. She donated numerous hours of her time to help in making the garden flourish. She helped with the tilling, seedling, planting, garden supplies, and the maintenance of the garden. Jeanette worked side by side with the students in the garden to make sure their garden prospered. She talked to the children about the use of compost, identifying plants, cooking, and picking of the produce.
Beverly Propes, North Minneapolis health guru extraordinaire, worked with the children and talked about the importance of healthy eating and growing our own food. She also assisted in obtaining garden supplies as well as helped with its care. Gardener Carrie Juntunen, of Harrison Neighborhood Environmental Committee, showed the children when the veggies were ready to pick and the proper way to do it.
WE WIN’s children showcased their first crop during North Point Health and Wellness Center’s “National Night Out” on August 3 with a display. They exhibited their squash, cucumbers, peppers, and a homemade vegetable stew, made of all the vegetables from the garden. The visitors to the booth devoured the stew and took samples of vegetables home.
The culmination of children’s hard work was showcased at WE WIN’s “Love, Hope, and Faith Summer Celebration” held at Zion Baptist Church on August 9. The community saw student portfolios, storytelling under the tutelage of master storyteller Nothando Zulu and African dance and drum with choreographer and Voice of Culture founder Kenna Sarge. The parents, community, and guests were all served garden salads, and a spicy vegetable dish that was made exclusively from WE WIN’s Youth Garden.
Children who participated in WE WIN’s Summer Program learned the importance of committing to a healthy eating lifestyle. They took pride in their garden and learned the joy of working the soil. They loved even more the act of taking home a variety of fruits and vegetables to share with their families. The garden produced so much food that children were able to take food home weekly. The staff and children of WE WIN Institute encourage community members to come and work with the children and share the experience of gardening with them.