Local Gardener donates hundreds of pounds of fresh produce
(Shakopee, MN, August 24, 2018)— Nancy Larson is gardening for good this summer. Larson, a retired Inver Grove Heights resident, loves to garden. Earlier this summer, she posted on the Nextdoor app looking for a place to donate her harvests. Sarah Tormoen, Senior Nutrition Site Supervisor for Community Action Partnership (CAP), reached out to Nancy. Nancy’s hope was that there would be a specific group of people to whom the produce could go. She wanted to be sure that her garden was making a difference and helping others. Sarah suggested giving the produce to CAP’s senior dining clients in Dakota County. Nancy loved this idea, so Sarah has been delivering the fresh garden produce to senior dining sites since June 20th. Nancy donates fifty to one hundred pounds of fresh food each week! She divides up her harvests to be sure that each dining site gets a wide variety of produce.
CAP’s Senior Nutrition program ensures that individuals who are disabled or 60 and older have quality, nutritionally balanced meals. Meals are served mid-day at multiple sites throughout Scott, Carver and Dakota counties. Eligible Individuals may also receive a meal delivered directly to their home. Seniors are also connected to other services to improve overall health and well-being.
The seniors at Sarah’s dining sites have loved getting this fresh produce. Not only does it make a great nutritional addition to their meals, it allows them to reminisce about their own days gardening. They have shared recipes, stories of pickling vegetables in their kitchens, and memories of summers past. “It has been such a positive experience and something for the seniors to look forward to every week,” says Sarah Tormoen.
Jackie Lara, Food and Nutrition Director at the CAP Agency, hopes that Nancy’s example will encourage other local gardeners and farmers throughout Scott, Carver, and Dakota counties. “We’ve been incorporating more and more fresh food options into our Food Shelf and WIC programs,” says Lara, “and working with Nancy has been a wonderful example of how the community can get more involved.” CAP’s WIC program runs a community garden in Shakopee where families can learn about growing fresh fruits and vegetables and take home the produce. Throughout the summer and fall, CAP holds Fresh Produce Distributions on select Saturday mornings at which community members in need can stop by the Shakopee location and receive fresh fruits and vegetables for themselves and their family. “We would love to partner with our community to provide even more fresh options to our client families throughout the year,” says Lara.