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Community Garden Takes Root in Rochester

By Milena Nunez Garcia, SNAP-Ed Educator

a sign with text "Back to Eden Garden"
The Oak Terrace Garden sign,
prepared by the Rochester SDA Church.
This summer, the University of Minnesota Extension SNAP-Ed program had the opportunity to work in collaboration with the Rochester Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in a community garden program at the Oak Terrace Estates and Parkside mobile home communities.

The purpose of the Oak Terrace Garden project was to grow an organic community garden to encourage the community to grow organic vegetables for family use. In addition to having fresh produce to eat, the garden will help families
  • Learn gardening techniques.
  • Understand the importance of working as a team in the community.
  • Consume a healthy diet.
  • Be in the fresh air and get some exercise. 
To help establish the garden in the community, we held several community events in collaboration with the Rochester SDA Church:
  • Distribution of fresh products to the community.
  • Nutrition education that focused on topics such as “How to Make a Healthy Plate,” “Food Safety,” and “How to Plan and Create Goals to Achieve a Healthy Lifestyle.” 
  • Food tasting activities using what was grown in the garden. 
  • Short meditations about spiritual health. 
  • Balloon activity for the children. 
  • Garden tours. 
We had excellent community attendance. In total, 45 to 50 people, including kids, participated.

Two other agencies also worked to make the community garden a success. Olmsted County Public Health Services, through their Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, made a $500 mini-grant to cover some of the expenses in this project. Channel One Food Shelf provided local fresh produce to supplement the produce of the Oak Terrace Garden.

We plan to follow up next season in 2018 with the community garden program and continue collaborating with old and new partners. By continuing to engage and build with the Oak Terrace and Parkside families and support their community garden, we hope to encourage self-sufficiency as well as healthy food and lifestyle choices.

To read more about SNAP-Ed work at this site, read the October 2016 blog post Promoting Good Health Through Physical Activity in Rochester.

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