We grow food at the gardens at Saint Mary’s and Our Place. Food is harvested throughout the year and distributed directly to campus residents. We own a large cargo van and maintain a partnership with Desert Farming Initiative. We help distribute the Desert Farming Initiative’s produce and they provide cold storage for produce that is not immediately distributed. Excess food that is not used at the time of campus delivery is then brought to small food pantries operated by churches in Sparks and Reno that have limited access to fresh food. These food banks prioritize services to seniors and veterans.
We provide educational workshops so people know how to use what they have grown and harvested. Workshop topics include gardening, nutrition, cooking, and preserving. We work with community experts who volunteer their time to share their expertise with community members in need. Gardening workshops are conducted at both garden sites and are open to the public; however, priority is given to campus residents. Nutrition and cooking workshops are provided on the Our Place Campus and are currently only available to campus residents.
Our workforce development program addresses the root causes of food security related to poverty. Our work force development programming provides neighbors with opportunities to maintain involvement with our garden community and build skills that will allow them to be successful throughout their healing journey.
Workforce development is a priority because it brings our efforts to address food insecurity full circle. The garden is a perfect opportunity learn and practice emotional intelligence and executive functioning skills, which are essential to every paid and volunteer job.
Neighborhood volunteers and the fresh produce they will take home.
Top: Standard line of cars at the community pantry in Sparks. Soulful Seeds is one of the few providers of fresh food.
Left: Garlic class at the garden at Saint Mary's.