Jul 14th, 2009

Community Kitchen Garden: United We Serve

by Janine Butler, Garden Volunteer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Please note, this blog post was originally published on June 29, 2009.

We are getting close to our first harvest! According to Tom Brinda, Assistant Executive Director of Horticulture here at Lewis Ginter, the first of the summer squash are almost ready! They are quite small, but apparently they taste better when they are smaller. In some circles serving baby squash with the flowers still intact is even quite trendy. Not only is the Central Virginia Foodbank reaping the benefits of this harvest, they can now call themselves gourmet!
This week we also gave most of the plants a healthy dose of liquid feed to help them along a bit, so hopefully we shall see a growth spurt in the next few days! And for those readers following the mystery eggplant bug story, the bugs have gone. We eliminated most of them last week, and they haven’t reappeared. Yeah!
We had about 8 new volunteers who came and worked in the Community Kitchen Garden this week. The majority of the group work for the Department of Social Services here in Richmond and got involved through the Hands on Greater Richmond program. Kimberly Brown, who works for the Dept of Social Services in the Office of Volunteering and Community Service, even brought her two young nephews. She told me that this opportunity combined her personal interest of gardening with serving her community and was excited to volunteer. As a bonus, her nephews also really enjoyed themselves and she hopes to be able to bring them back for more fun in the garden! We also had a representative from the Governor’s Office, Andrea Gaines. It’s exciting to see that local government is getting involved and encouraging it’s workforce to volunteer.
It’s all part of a bigger program called United We Serve. Recently the White House announced a new initiative asking people everywhere to volunteer to serve in their own communities during the summer. It’s a worthwhile effort, and everyone benefits. Personally, I am thoroughly enjoying this volunteer opportunity at Lewis Ginter. I feel active and involved at the same time as learning something new, and would recommend everyone to look for something that they can get involved with, either through one of the established volunteer programs or by pursuing a personal interest.


Thanks to all the new volunteers, and another big thanks to all the regular volunteers!

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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