Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Working Hand in Hand by Priscilla Payne

Imagine reaching down and snapping your first green bean of the season just before you place the luscious fresh taste into your mouth, or better yet slicing your first sweet tomato to add either to your summer sandwich. Or it might be the start of your own fresh crisp salad. Now you know what it's like for anyone of the clients of the Windham Food Pantry who would gain such enjoyment and nutritional value no other way than with your help

With budgets tight for many of the Windham community, foods like this, which we take for granted and also as a right of summer, would not be possible for as many as three hundred families in our community. But the Windham Food Pantry, working in collaboration with the Windham Community Garden, make these foods available to many.

Every season Madeline, director of the Windham Food Pantry, works closely with the Windham Community Garden members; first in advising what to grow according to nutritional needs and desires of the clients and then in receiving and storing the produce for distribution. The Community Garden devotes fourteen beds to producing an abundance of food from beans and tomatoes, to cucumbers and several types of squash and more just to make it all possible for the most vulnerable in our community to have nutritious, fresh produce..
Without the collective approach of all the active members of the invested community garden team and their association with Madeline at the pantry none of this would be possible. Yet let it be said that working as a team all the members of the community garden members take not only their plots to heart, but also those devoted to producing the myriad of vegetables that it takes to supplement those in the Windham community that would have to go without, were it not for this relationship.

There is first the need to balance the need with space and then the real hard work gets underway as the designated plots are first prepared and then planted. The work load doesn't stop there as the weeds and insects make their attacks to only find a willing team waiting to do whatever needs to be done using only organic principals to address any problems that may arise. Watering is a summer long responsibility that all the garden members are will to share to bring their pantry plots to fruition.

After all the work the harvest begins and the smiles grow with the reminder that last season more than 2,100 pounds of produce walked the few feet from the garden space down to the pantry just a short distance away on Gray Road, Route 202.

The next time you walk to your summer garden for something special for dinner remember that with your continued support many more people are enjoying the same.

So go ahead and pick your greens and then your tomatoes and cukes; smiling the entire time because with your help and the help of numerous others throughout the Windham community a lot of people can do the same.

With special thanks from the Windham Community Garden and the Windham Food Pantry and its director Madeline; eat and enjoy, we couldn't do it without you.

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