Produce Tales from the Wesley Colbert Zion Street Garden
Because our participant summer program delayed the start of our growing season, our team didn’t begin planting until June. Still, by the time mid-summer came, our garden was already producing regularly. At first our veggies came in slowly, supplying some cherry tomatoes for salads and hot peppers for spicing up our team’s chili.
By the end of August, our team’s beds were overgrown with cherry, grape and plum tomatoes, beans and peas, salad greens and radishes.
With our team meals no longer taking up the bulk of fresh produce, we celebrated harvest season with the opening of the Zion Street Produce Stand.
We believe in the power of community agriculture to work against an unjust food system that limits the right to eat well with the ability to pay. Offering our produce to neighbors at no cost not only allowed us to celebrate our accomplishments with all of the people who have been around to see the garden growing throughout the summer. Free food challenges the basic relationships- between people and between people and food- that our current monetary food system has fostered.
We also quickly discovered that the garden produce stand was a great way to reach out to people who did not take part in any of our activities this past year. The bright cherry tomatoes, as sweet as candy with a more complex flavor (for those who like tomaotes) drew the attention of many of the young children on their way home from school.
With over 120 raised wooden beds available, we are hoping to attract many of those who joined us at our produce stand to sign up to grow food with us next year. In the end, our produce stand is as much about celebrating this past growing season as it is about getting ready for the next one.