So if you happened to peruse through the Frequently Asked Questions page of our website you may have seen a little ditty about the delivery fees (collected from those pesky delivery fees for Bloomington customers) going to support programs which remediate food insecurity in rural areas surrounding Monroe County. Without tooting our own horn too much, we thought that was pretty cool. So we wanted to fill our customers in on the good things we have been able to do with their support of Rathgebers' Garten.
Last Tuesday marked the first program to be benefited by the delivery fee support- a Community Dinner to celebrate the installation of a Youth Community Garden at MSD Shakamak Elementary School located in Jasonville, Indiana. Even though the night of the event (which, was also the first day of spring) brought about four inches of snow- 50 people gathered together in the Elementary School Cafeteria. The objective for the evening was simple: to build community between and among families, and taste some of the recipes which feature vegetables that will be grown in our gardens.
The vegetable-based menu included: Butternut Squash/ Zucchini Fritters, Colorful Rainbow Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette, Zucchini Meatballs with Marinara and Pasta, Herb Focaccia Bread and Apples with Sunbutter for dessert. The kiddos helped by decorating the event space with hand-made decorations and place-mats for all of the guests. It was RUL cute.
To fill you in on some of the specifics- Mallory (our webmaster/ farm hand) serves as a Community Wellness Coordinator for Greene, Owen and Clay Counties for her regular day job. Two years ago, she ran into the issue that she had farmers' markets, schools and coalitions who wanted to do great things- but often lacked the funds for things that grants and donors don't think of as very sexy (think: printing costs, postage, promoted facebook ads, healthy snacks to get people in the door of your health coalition meeting). At the same time, Dustin wanted to implement a CSA program for his up-and coming agribusiness which would include Bloomington customers (cause the market in rural areas are often pretty saturated as far as CSA's go) and the two minds melded together to form a great partnership. Dustin would grow the vegetables and Mallory would coordinate the CSA as a fundraiser of sorts for the programs who don't otherwise get the support they need.
Other projects we have lined up to fund for this year include:
- Hand tools, gloves, and a wheelbarrow for the aforementioned Youth Community Garden and Gardening Club
- Promoted post for the Market Bucks program at the Bloomfield and Linton Farmers' Markets
- Website/domain for the Shakamak Youth Garden
- Hiring the services of people (who know what they are doing) to make a web-video explaining the ins- and outs of using the Market Bucks program
- Games and materials for participants of the Free Summer Lunch Programs in Linton and Jasonville, Indiana
- Lunch, snacks, and coffee for the volunteers who participate in the Pedestrian Advisory Council quarterly meetings
- Gift certificates for people who manage our Market Bucks booth during the summer months