Community Food Bank offers home gardening workshops

Story and photo by Sierra J. Russell

If you enjoy garden-grown vegetables and don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, the Community Food Bank has you covered.

The Community Food Resource Center is offering a series of free home gardening workshops throughout the spring and fall. Classes are open to everyone interested in improving their gardening skills.

Melissa Mundt, food production and education coordinator, said the workshops attract all types of people.

“For example, currently we have a participant who is deaf and, with the help of Pima Community College, we were able to arrange for sign language interpretation,” she said.

The workshops also cater to the schedule of busy parents.

“With advance notice, we offer childcare during the workshops,” Mundt said, “thanks to volunteers with childcare experience such as retired teachers.”

The spring schedule includes workshops offered on Friday and Saturday mornings. Topics include how to work with compost, how to choose an ideal garden site and how to keep plants healthy.

A variety of specialty workshops are also offered during the week.

“We offer extra classes in various locations for people with limited transportation,” Mundt said.

Specialty workshop topics include growing fruit trees, cooking locally grown foods, using solar ovens, harvesting rainwater, saving seeds and making herbal medicines.

Tony Bruno, the “poultry guru” of Community Food Bank, gives tips on how to care for chickens, and Chris Mazaralla teaches how to compost with worms.

By meeting a few requirements, you can become a member of the Community Food Resource Center Gardening Program. This allows access to compost, seeds and plants.

Members are also involved in helping work on the personal gardens of people in need of physical assistance.

“We are the Food Bank, so our main focus is on things you can eat,” Mundt said. “Flowers are important, and help bring pollinators.”

As if to demonstrate her point, a hummingbird hovered nearby for a few seconds while we were sitting in the garden. Mundt looked at my red shirt and said, “I think he wants to drink your shirt.”

The tiny creature quickly flitted back towards the rows of lettuce.

Melissa Mundt stands at the entrance to the Community Food Bank’s demonstration garden.

FYI

Upcoming classes:
•    Soil and Compost: Saturday, April 10, 9-11 a.m.
•    Site Design: Saturday, April 24, 9-11 a.m.
•    Planting a Healthy Garden: Friday, March 26, and Saturday, May 8, 9-11 a.m.
Specialty workshops:
•    Rainwater Harvesting: Tuesday, March 30, 9-11 a.m.
•    Simply Cooking: Thursday, April 15, 1-3 p.m.
•    How to Build a Solar Oven: Saturday, April 17, noon-4 p.m.
•    Herbal Medicine Making: Monday, April 26, 9-11 a.m.

To obtain more information about the gardening workshops or any other programs offered by the Community Food Bank, contact Melissa Mundt at 622-0525 ext. 263 or  mmundt@communityfoodbank.org, or Luis Herrera at 622-0525 ext. 264 or  lherrera@communityfoodbank.org.

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