Celebrating a Bounty of Food, Friends, and Fun

Cross-posted from Growing Food and Sustainability

Yesterday was our biggest event of the summer, our Harvest Festival! We invited friends, family, neighbors, and community members to join us in a celebration of Growing Food and Sustainability’s first summer. Much has happened since Natalie and I first dreamed-up this program last October. A few highlights include…

  • Creating a 5,000 square foot Youth Farm where we have harvested 923 pounds of produce to date
  • Running a 9-week summer program for 26 students from 4-16 years old
  • Donating (and delivering with our bike trailer) 373 pounds of produce to the Middleton Outreach Ministry Food Pantry and 145 pounds to the Middleton Senior Center
  • Composting 887 pounds of food waste from Bloom Bake Shop and Roman Candle Pizzeria
  • Building a team of youth leaders to run our program. Ain and Lauren, our full-time participants, we simply couldn’t have done any of this without you! And to all of our committed part-time participants (Abby, Alyson, Asha, Colin, Katie, Lennea, Liz, Matthew, Morgan, Neil, and Teague), you kept our program rolling and contributed your talents and energy exactly when we needed them!

And now about that Harvest Festival…

Our wonderful volunteers made sure that everything ran smoothly and that everyone had fun! There were games, activities, music, and food for all to enjoy!

Farm Stand and Bake Sale at the Harvest Festival

Lauren putting our bike trailer to another use…

Bike-powered Hay Rides!

Our long-time friend and artist, Cathi, came all of the way from Chicago to run a ceramic plate-making activity! It was a hug hit with kids and adults of all ages.

Making ceramic plates!

Some of the kids took charge over the activities. Here, 6-year-old Elizabeth is running the face painting table.

Family face-painting

Seeing the faces of so many friends (old and new) at the Harvest Festival made me feel so supported in this work. Grandparents, parents, and family friends who have watched me and Natalie grow-up were there to cheer us on. I also realized how many new connections GFS has made within the community and how many new people I can now call friends. It felt incredible to know that the GFS team created this beautiful community in just one summer, and that these friendships and connections will continue to grow into the future.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to making our Harvest Festival such a success. We had so much fun celebrating with you and your generosity helped us to raise over $500 to send a group of our youth leaders to the Summer of Solutions National Gathering in Connecticut next week. THANK YOU!

~ Gabrielle, Program Leader

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