Gardens, Dig it
The snow is melting and spring is just around the corner. Now is the time to start planning your garden for a summer full of sunshine and fresh produce. From a tiny seed to a tasty vegetable, everyone in our community should get the opportunity to experience growing their own food. In a survey completed in 2014, the community of Cross Plains expressed an importance in improving nutrition. Changing the environment to support healthy eating is a first positive step to improving overall health. Through a grant provided by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Wisconsin Partnership Program, in the spring of 2016, the LIFE Foundation created the LIFE Community Gardens located in Zander Park. We strive to give residents the opportunity to garden with others in a social environment. In addition, the LIFE Foundation provided a senior garden and a child care garden locally to expand the experience to seniors and children.
One of LIFE Foundation’s goals is to provide access and resources to establishing gardens, both in homes and the community; we want everyone to have the opportunity to plant, grow, and harvest. To support that goal, cucumber and lettuce seeds were made available to gardeners locally through the Cross Plains Village office, Cross Plains Library, Crossroad Coffeehouse, Cross Plains Pharmacy and UW Health, Cross Plains, free, by signing up for the LIFE e-newsletter.
A shed to store garden equipment and a water pump was installed. Plots were tilled and stakes were marked. Twenty eight Community Co-op members planted 30 10 x 12’ plots and tended their gardens from May to October. They harvested an assortment of vegetables and flowers and attended the fall clean up day. As part of the two-year grant from the UWSMPH Wisconsin Partnership program, a few remaining plots will be available at no charge.
Our grant also enabled the LIFE Foundation to build raised garden beds for Northwest Dane Senior Services and plant them with the assistance of the senior daycare residents. Rows were marked with hand painted rocks identifying each produce. This was also a LIFE project with the seniors.
A pilot child care garden project was also designed and implemented by the life Foundation. Called, "Read it, Grow It, Eat It, this program included working with the library’s reading program with Gardens and Nutrition as their themes, creating a garden tended to by the child care children and having our coalition dietitian give a presentation on healthy snacks made from the garden.
LIFE envisions a community reaping the nutritional, physical and social benefits of home and community gardens. All gardens have benefits, but our community gardens will make a major impact on our community as a whole. We invite our community to become rich in health and togetherness, ultimately improving nutrition and overall health.
Submitted by: Jane Busch, LIFE Foundation, March 2017
Cross Plains Farmers Market
The Cross Plains Farmers Market is set to open this summer for the months of June, July and August, will be open Wednesday from 4:00 – 7:00 pm. Now in its third year we anticipate a larger number of vendors and a variety of produce options. An easy stop on your way home from work, the Farmer’s Market is a healthy way to improve your nutrition. Look for the signs to direct you to its new location in Cross Plains.