Plant, Prepare, Partake!

The Idea

At the Perry County Food Bank, we meet the immediate needs of our clients for food. Many of our clients, however, have no idea how to prepare foods unless they come in a box or can and can be microwaved for dinner. Even cooking on top of the stove is a challenge for some.
This initiative is an effort designed to show our clients how to grow some of their own food, even with limited circumstances, and then take those foods, along with others from the food bank and prepare them.


Plant Bruce in Garden

The first phase of this program is the gardening phase. This begins with the Perry County Master Gardeners planning, building, and planting a demonstration garden next to the food bank in New Bloomfield. It is available to everyone to see and walk through to observe different methods of growing vegetables within a limited area and limited resources.
The Master Gardeners also prepare and present various programs related to gardening at the garden site. Topics include planning, planting, soil preparation, garden care, and harvesting.
Seeds are provided by Burpee Seed Company, who graciously donated them. These are provided to our clients who are encouraged to plant their own gardens. Tomato and pepper plants are provided in May through a donation from Stacey Butcher who has Butcher's Farm Market in Newport.
It has been exciting to see food bank clients come in and share pictures of their gardens and their stories of planting and taking care of their gardens and harvesting crops which they have grown themselves. There is a real joy and excitement in the first-time gardeners who are reaping the benefits of participating in the program.

Prepare Prepare Julie

For the cooking phase, three cooking classes are presented during the summer at different locations around the county. The meals revolve around foods that have been grown in client gardens and foods available at the food bank. Different ways to prepare meals using fresh foods are presented. In addition to the classes themselves, there are activities for children that revolve around foods that they can prepare for themselves as well.
Food safety is covered and families are encouraged to prepare their foods together and then partake of them together around the family table.

Partake! Partake

Partake is the goal and the reward from the Plant and Prepare portions. It is the ability to harvest fresh, nutritious produce from your own garden and prepare it and share it with your family along with foods obtained from the food bank. It is the satisfaction of knowing that you grew the food yourself and then you were able to prepare good-tasting, nutritious food for your family.
Cooking and eating as a family are positive activities that can instill a lifetime of healthy eating habits which are frequently formed around our parents dinner table.