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People’s Garden Making a Difference in South-West Minnesota

                                                                         News Feature                                                           10/4/2011

People’s Garden Making a Difference in South-West Minnesota

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” The South-west Regional Outreach Center (SWROC) in Lamberton, Minnesota understands the importance of giving to others. SWROC recently partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to share extra produce from its High Tunnels. Produce that is not being used at SWROC is now going to low-income families in south-west Minnesota.

Hoop HouseThanks to NRCS District Conservationist Brian Christiansen and his wife Bonnie, a community nutrition educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Simply Good Eating Program. She made her husband aware of the need to share this extra food with people in need.

Brian immediately thought of the idea of utilizing the USDA People’s Garden Initiative to share the food with others in need. In 2009, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack began the People’s Garden Initiative – named in honor of President Lincoln’s description of USDA as the “People’s Department.”

The partnership with SWROC and NRCS and Simply Good Eating has yielded positive results. Recipients of this food include families from Murray, Redwood, Brown and Jackson Counties. During 2011 a total of around 700 pounds of produce was produced by the Outreach center.

Christiansen has appreciated the opportunity to deliver food to those in need. He said that this outreach effort between SWROC and NRCS has been rewarding and he already is looking forward to continuing this effort on into 2012 and beyond.

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