FROM GARDEN TO TABLE: Peoples Clinic providing free vegetables

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Peoples Community Health Clinic is helping people who may not have access to fresh produce.

They’re partnering with the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education and AmeriCorps to launch the “Peoples Garden.”

GARDEN TO TABLE

Planning for the garden started last Fall, and organizers said they started harvesting their crops a few weeks ago. They’re growing a variety of vegetables, including lettuce, kale, tomatoes, green onion and potatoes.

Patients can go to the clinic and take home fresh vegetables from the garden at no cost. Peoples hopes the free produce will encourage healthy eating.

“So I thought, ‘We have all this land, could we give away vegetables? Could we just grow them and as they harvested, could we just give them away to our patients and to this neighborhood?’ So, that’s how this started,” Christine Kemp, the CEO of Peoples said.

Kemp said without the garden, some people may not be able to afford fresh vegetables.

“You know, we try to do as much as we can for our patients,” Kemp said. “The whole idea of Peoples Clinic is to really reduce any barrier we can. And this one – we can reduce the barrier to fresh vegetables.”

COMMUNITY GARDENS

Emily Dvorak is the AmeriCorps VISTA Member in Community Food Security at UNI. She said having access to local produce is important. She also told KWWL community gardens are becoming more popular.

“People are realizing it’s a more sustainable method of getting produce and also just supporting local economies,” Dvorak said. “It’s nice to be able to keep everything local. We’re also not using any pesticides here, so it’s organic.”

HOW IT WORKS

When you go to the clinic, you have to fill out a quick survey before you can take your produce home. Peoples is also giving out recipe ideas to encourage people to try new dishes and vegetables.

Every week, there will be distribution days in the main lobby at the clinic. To find out when you can pick up your free vegetables, visit: https://www.facebook.com/peoplesclinic/

Peoples Garden relies on volunteers and donations. They’re looking to build a bigger fence around the garden to keep bunnies away. If you’d like to help Peoples, click here.

Olivia Schmitt

Olivia Schmitt

Morning Reporter at KWWL
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