(For more photos of the Apple Gourd project, see the "Our Photos" section below.)
A group of early childhood and family enthusiasts in the Redwood area have put a new twist on an old adage. It goes something like this:
“If you give a young family fresh food from a garden you may feed them for a while, but if you teach them how to grow their own garden produce you have helped to feed them for a lifetime.”
Known as the Apple Gourd Project, an initiative has been established in the area to help address the needs of low-income families who have children ages zero through five as well as pregnant moms.
Inspiring them to eat healthy and to be active, the Apple Gourd Project has taken a piece of land near the Redwood Valley Middle School /High School campus and turned it into a huge garden and natural play space.
While helping teach families how to eat healthier is one of the goals of the initiative, which is being funded through a multi-year grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, just getting families outside and active is part of what the group hopes to accomplish, too.
The concept of growing food, growing family and growing friendships is a big part of the project that not only provides the food for those who need it but also provides education elements that guide those families in everything from food preparation to exercise.
The garden and natural play space have been established on the site, and a sign has been erected to show the community what is going on there.
While the initiative is focusing on a certain demographic within the community, that does not mean others from the public can’t enjoy the site. In fact, people who would like to do some weeding are welcome to show up to work any time.
According to Pam Prouty, who is serving as the grant manager fro the initiative, there are currently eight families involved with the project, and each of those families is supposed to spend time at the site doing some of the work.
“They are supposed to put in four hours each week weeding and watering,” said Prouty, adding the play space is available for the families who need to bring the kids along.
Some of the garden produce has already been harvested, and, as a variety of things were planted, there is lots to look forward to as the season continues.
In addition to teaching about growing the vegetables there have been programs offered that have helped those families learn more about healthy eating, including learning about cooking and being offered some new recipes.
Page 2 of 2 - While the project is currently set up in Redwood Falls, the plan is to expanded the project by adding gardens and play spaces in Morton and Belview.
If you would like to volunteer for the Apple Gourd project, call (507) 644-8939. The Apple Gourd project also has its own Facebok page that includes updates.