Lake Region Takes Root
The local foods project of Lake Region Healthcare is part of our growing commitment to wellness and preventive health care. To achieve optimal health, people in our region need access to affordable fresh produce. This project is a means of achieving this important element of contributing to a healthier community. View our Project Brochure.
2014 Season is Underway!
May 30th - 2014: As usual mother nature has played a few tricks on our schedule as rain and cold weather originally kept away several groups from helping us. Unfortunately, not all groups have the ability to reschedule.
We started planting and are about 2/3 dine with the east field. Once done we will turn our attention to the raised beds and west field. About 1/3 of the west field will be planted this year and the rest cover cropped. Peat moss was hauled in yesterday and we will get that spread around and then tilled in.
1) We are looking for raspberries, strawberries, and perennial flowers. Are you in the market to thin yours?
2) We have several special projects planned this year that include but not limited to: installing a paver sidewalk from the curb to the patio/education center, build more raised beds, develop a compost system, and continue planting perennial and annual flowers around the garden, etc.
3) We have garden supervisors on Monday and Thursday’s from 9am-12n and an evening supervisor by appointment. Please feel free to come out and join us or spread the word to family, friends, neighbors, and social networks you belong to.
4) Are you able to call a few organizations and reach out to them about volunteering as a group?
5) Document our progress through picture taking and web or Facebook posts
6) Develop a speaker bureau to offer educational seminars throughout the summer. Education center is nearly ready so let’s get to educating the public.
It looks like there will be rain over the weekend and into next week so it is likely we will again fall behind on our planting plans. Consider lending a hand to help us catch up.
Last year we grew 1,600# of food, our goal this year is 15,000#. With that much food being produced we have to look at a new distribution system where as many people come to the site to pick up their donation and organizations send volunteers to pick up large boxed donations. We have some public health interns assisting us this summer to develop an improved plan.
Along with that there will be changes in how we harvest and pack the food on site. We may need to look into building some type of packing shed for instance and figure out a temporary storage.
The education center will soon get some picnic tables and a grill. This area will be promoted as an outdoor conference center. The idea is to have a staff or business meeting and then volunteer in the garden.
We may have several UMN experts on site this summer/fall to give us advice on irrigation practices, rainwater harvest and retention and compost systems.
The volunteer opportunities are endless and there are many ways you can assist the garden in being successful that does not require you physically being on site, so please consider connecting with us.
Hope to see you at the garden soon!
First Year Progress Report
The summer of 2013 was a fantastic first year success. We harvested over 1600 pounds of produce that was donated to Otter Tail County WIC families, The Fergus Falls Area Food Shelf, The Matthew House and A Place to Belong. This impacted over 300 families and over 1,000 individuals. We estimate this harvest to represent about 5% of the growing capacity at the garden. Our goal for 2014 is to increase that to 50%!
Other major milestones of our inaugural year include:
- Planting the Orchard (thanks to LRH Employee Donations)
- Construction of the Pergola (thanks to Home Depot Foundation)
- Paver Patio at the Pergola (thanks to Home Depot Foundation & Noon Rotary)
- Placement & Planting of 22 re-purposed raised bed gardens (from the Otter Garden)
- Construction of several additional gardens (thanks to service clubs, boy scouts & girl scouts)
- Installation of permanent water source (thanks to PartnerSHIP4Health grant)
- Placement of a storage shed (thanks to a private donor)
- General garden design, preparation, maintenance, and development thanks to dozens of individual, non-profit, and corporate partners (many who are listed below)
What: Lake Region Healthcare along with other community partners is growing foods for families having difficulty accessing healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables through a project called Lake Region Takes Root.
This initiative was developed to meet a specific need identified through the 2012 Community Health Assessment conducted by Lake Region Healthcare and Otter Tail County Public Health which indicated families with children under 21 years of age are concerned about the ability to access fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. A 1.5 acre parcel of land was donated to Lake Region Healthcare to make an impact on health. Using this resource to grow local whole foods is a natural fit with our organization’s vision & commitment to improving community health.
The project is equally about community education. The facility will be a place where people of all ages can learn the value of foods, importance of nutrient dense foods and experience a variety of growing methodologies aimed at inspiring residents to grow a portion of their own foods. Educators, master gardeners, dietitians, and other wellness experts will use the facility for hands on learning & educational opportunities.
Who: Foods grown at the site will be used to serve Women Infant’s and Children’s (WIC) clients of Otter Tail County. Any overage of foods will be donated to organizations such as Fergus Falls Community Food Shelf. The development of the site, planting, maintenance, harvesting and distribution activities will be a collaboration of partnerships with individuals and organizations that are committed to improving our local foods system.
Why: Chronic disease for such things as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes accounts for an estimated 75 percent of all health care spending in the U.S.
Eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Yet access to fresh local whole foods can be a challenge for many families and individuals.
We all have a stake in supporting the health of our community members.
Where: The land is located on the west edge of Fergus Falls at 260 Kennedy Park Circle, just south of the Lake Region Healthcare Walk-In Clinic and west of Home Depot. This draft shows a preliminary drawing of how the garden may take shape with an orchard, tillable land, raised bed and container gardens, and a pergola for an education center.
When: First phase of planting of vegetables in raised bed gardens and fruit trees in the orchard began in May of 2013. The entire project will be phased in over the course of approximately 3 years depending upon resources and available funding.
How can you be involved?
- Recruit your club or organization to help with a one day project or a long-term service effort
- Volunteer to work on special projects, planting days, maintaining the garden, harvesting or distribution of foods
- Share your expertise with our planners
- Help with fundraising
- Donate money or extra/unused gardening tools/supplies or equipment
Following are some of the needs identified for the Community Garden project. This project presents a great opportunity for youth groups, service clubs, organizations and individuals to be a part of an amazing community impact project.
- Lawn Tractor and Tiller
- Above/Underground water storage tanks
- Weed Barrier
- Wood & landscaping blocks for raised bed gardens
- Perennial plants
- Garden & Soaker hoses
- Garden & pruning shears
- Compost Bins
- Tomato Cages, Plant Stakes & Aisle Markers
- Shower Wands
- Shepherds hooks, bird houses & bird seed
- Donors & Grant Writers
- Groups to build raised bed gardens
- Experts in orchards, vegetables, flowers, composting, landscaping
- Financial contributions
Community Garden News
LRH Launches Local Foods Initiative
Lake Region Takes Root - First Community Garden Project Day Saturday
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Kim at 218.736.8472.
If you have questions about the garden project or its needs please contact Jason at 701.306.5280.
Financial contributions are also welcome to help meet annual expenses related to supplies and maintenance.
Financial contributions are tax deductible and can be made through the LRH Foundation online, in person at at 712 Cascade St. S., Fergus Falls, MN 56537 or by calling 218.736.8195.
Thank You Donors
We are extremely grateful for the tremendous community support of this endeavor. There are individual donors of time, talent, goods and money that are too numerous to mention. We also extend appreciation to these business and organizations who have made generous contributions toward the progress of this initiative:
- Anderson Land Surveying
- Bluebird Gardens
- Butler Cat
- City of Fergus Falls
- Cullens Home Center
- Delzer Construction
- Feel Good Gardens
- Fergus Falls Community Food Shelf
- Fergus Falls School District
- Forget Me Not
- Harold Stanislawski
- Hanson's Plumbing
- Hutchins Tree Service
- Lake Region Healthcare Foundation
- Otter Electric
- Otter Tail Power
- Outdoor Rennovations
- PartnerSHIP 4 Health
- RDO Equipment
- Swedberg Nursery
- The National Gardening Association and Mantis Tiller 2014 donor
- Volden Construction
- West Otter Tail County Master Gardener Association
- West Otter Tail Soil & Water Conservation District