Soil, Seeds & Sunshine: The Roots of Good Nutrition

May 2021

What is more satisfying than a juicy strawberry, freshly picked from the garden and warm from the sunshine? Succulent fruit is one of the many treasures found in a garden. Each item delights our taste buds and is a critical nutritional component of our diets. At Helena Food Share, the pantry garden produces fresh food to share with our neighbors in need. Our community’s generosity and hard work make it possible to offer garden fresh food to our customers throughout the growing season.

This spring, Gardenwerks provided soil for new beds in the garden, and Carroll’s Gardening and Community Health class jumped into action again this year, planting seeds and seedlings in the new high tunnel greenhouse. Since then, students have been tending to the plants, along with volunteers who will harvest the fruits of everyone’s labor this season.

The Helena Food Share garden is just one source of locally grown produce during the summer. Other gardeners across the valley have planted a row or more just for Helena Food Share. Both a few blocks away from the pantry, the Sixth Ward Community Garden and the St. Mary Catholic Community Jubilee Garden contribute vital produce each year.

Helen and Joe Beausoleil are founding members of the Jubilee Garden. They shared, “From the inception of the Jubilee Garden, our vision was to support the Helena community by providing growing opportunities for gardeners and fresh produce for Helena Food Share. Many hands help grow, maintain, and harvest the produce throughout the season. In this way, we all fulfill what the sign outside our garden states: Jubilee Garden – Common Ground for the Common Good.”

With food from these and many other community gardens and backyard plots, 30,000- 40,000 pounds of fresh produce grown right here in Helena can go directly to people who visit the pantry.

With humble apologies to a well-known quote, we like to say that it takes a village to grow a garden. Helena, you are a generous village, and your gardens’ bounty will provide critical nutrition for our neighbors in need this summer and fall. Thank you!

Caption: A load of produce from the Jubilee Garden heading to Helena Food Share. In total, the garden donated 3,600 lbs. of food to Helena Food Share last year. (Photo courtesy of St. Mary Catholic Community)

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