Community Garden Project Yielding Amazing Harvest in 2012!
Retreat Center and Summer Camp’s Community garden feeding guests and those in need
When we got started on our community farming project, we weren’t sure how it was going to unfold. Would we have enough volunteers to keep it up and running? Would we secure the donations in plants that we needed to make it successful? Would campers enjoy it? Could we even incorporate all of that food into our kitchen? Could we find enough food banks to donate it to?
Throughout summer camp, we were able to serve a number of dishes that surprised us in their popularity. Kids really took to harvesting and eating all sorts of things we wouldn’t have guessed – you should have seen them eating all of that green and yellow squash! There was even one meal where we literally ran out of the squash dish that was created, and we had summer campers walking from table to table asking if we had any more!
At Vanderkamp, we are dedicated to serving not just the spirits of the children and retreat guests who come here, but their bodies as well. When we set out to plan an acre of organic vegetables – we knew that the hard work would mean healthier people leaving our camp and retreat center. What’s more? We knew we’d be able to give half of all of the food harvested to local people in need via food banks and other outlets. This seemed like an easy price to pay.
Now that we are fully into retreat season, the garden has REALLY started producing. Unfortunately, this has synced up with all of our happiest helpers (summer campers and summer camp staff) leaving! Luckily, we received an incredible blessing today – a harvesting group called God’s Gracious Gleaners came and picked nearly 700 pounds of produce for us! We were able to donate half of this – 130 pounds of zucchini, 70 pounds of acorn squash, 40 pounds of peppers, and 100 pounds of tomatoes – while keeping the rest to serve our retreat groups! That’s another 340 pounds of organic produce that was grown right here on site that is going into our retreat guests in the next couple weeks. And 340 pounds of organic produce that is being distributed through various food banks to help hungry people as well. How cool is that? Our hope is that next year, we can plant even more — if you are as passionate about food as we are, feel free to support this project with a small donation. Or just tell your friends about everything we have to offer!
A picture of God’s Gracious Gleaners, and their incredible work today! They come from Syracuse, Utica, Rome, and all over just to help different non-profit farms and gardens glean their respective harvests. How cool is that?