This article by Tom McKusick originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Northern Gardener.
Since 2011, the Donation Garden in Long Lake has planted, harvested and delivered fresh vegetables to local food shelves. Growing vegetables on a little less than a tenth of an acre, the garden yielded more than 2,700 pounds of produce last year, and 100 percent was donated to people in need. Janie Delaney is the lead coordinator of The Donation Garden, which is a member of MSHS’ Minnesota Green program. She describes the group effort that goes into tending the garden.
“There is a core group of about six dedicated volunteers who spend two to three hours working in the garden twice a week,” she says. “We have quite a system and everyone gravitates toward doing one or two things that they manage themselves, like taking care of the squash, or the tomatoes or the beans. One person washes and preps; another is the planner.” The garden contributes fresh produce to three area food shelves as well as those attending monthly community meals at three local churches.
Janie is grateful for the support the group receives from some local businesses and individuals. “Harvest Moon Food Co-op in Long Lake furnishes cooler space so we can put the fresh-picked veggies right in the cooler from the garden,” she says. Otten Bros. Garden Center and Landscaping, Riverbend Farms and Greg Reynolds are also sponsors.
Janie is also thankful for Minnesota Green, which has provided a large quantity of the seeds and plant material used in the garden. “Without Minnesota Green we could not have accomplished so much!”