Last Thursday brought a beautiful spring day as well as the culmination of a much anticipated event, Rivertown Commons Earth Day Kick-Off. For months, staff at the Cornerstone Group, Rivertown Commons and Backyard Harvest have been designing an event for residents that would celebrate spring, with a special focus on the new Backyard Harvest garden in the community.
Resident chefs jump-started the event by providing samples of an array of home-cooked specialties. Next, a presentation on nutrition was given by a staff person from Simply Good Eating (a program of the University of Minnesota Extension). Kids activities through-out the day included vegetable coloring pages, as well as painting flower pots and seeding them as a take home gift. Throughout the afternoon, residents were able to meet Farmer Dina and learn about the garden design, harvest schedule and upcoming planting event. Backyard Harvest staff were busy building potato bins and planting serviceberries and currents along the garden border.
Jamal Hashi, head chef of Safari Express, capped off the event with a fantastic cooking demonstration, including food samples. He used many fresh ingredients, giving reference often to the nutritional produce that will be grown in the garden this summer.
As residents expressed excitement about the garden, we knew the day had been a success. The enthusiasm surrounding this garden is a promising sign of the season ahead.