COVID-19

Despite the current difficult circumstances we are finding ourselves in we, as a community, nation and world, find ourselves in it is imperative that we let you know that the gardeners and gardens are continuing to work with our partners both at the local and county levels. We are continuing to provided food and support to all our neighbors in each of our communities.

Aside from the food banks there are numerous other resources available to assist all of us in coping with day to day issues during these trying times. The best ways to access these other resources is through the internet. Among the resources at our local level include: The Leader, the Peninsula Daily News, KPTZ Radio, Local 20/20, Jefferson Healthcare as well as your local school district.

And despite the dark clouds, we have a lot of good news to share. We have had a number of successful work parties recently. They’ve been doing plantings as well as harvesting for the local food banks. We have a new food bank garden. An eighth food bank garden has been added and it is located at Raincoast Farm on Rt. 19 in Port Townsend. We are looking forward to a growing partnership with them in the future. And we are also welcoming a new volunteer coordinator, Rachel Smith! So, yes! There are good things happening despite some of the other news.

So we wish you all the best of health. Take care of yourselves and check on your neighbors (from a safe distance), especially those in susceptible circumstances. These can be the best of times as well as the worst of times. We can make a difference.

In Health.

The Food Bank Farm & Gardens of Jefferson County, WA

Freeze Dryer Pilot Project – Read & Donate Here

Go Fund Me Link

The Food Bank Farm and Gardens of Jefferson County are continuing a fund raising campaign to purchase two residential size freeze dryers. initially during a pilot project we will be freeze drying only produce grown locally and given to the food banks by grocery stores or other suppliers.

This pilot project will:

  • Reduce Waste – The freeze dryer pilot project will help us reduce the amount of wasted food.  Hundreds of pounds of fresh produce and fruit come into food banks during the three months of peak harvest and not all can be given away before it spoils.
  • Create a Food Reserve – A freeze dryer will allow us to create a supply of food for winter months, when very little fresh produce comes in.  If fresh produce or canned produce (which has a shorter shelf life than freeze dried) is not available, the freeze dried produce can be distributed.
  • Assure a Supply of High Nutritional Value Food – Freeze drying preserves 96% of the original food value of the fresh food, a higher percentage than canning or dehydrating. Freeze drying can also produce a reconstituted product that is more attractive and closer to fresh than canning or dehydrating, or even frozen. Additionally, freeze dried food does not require special storage units or electricity.

Go Fund Me Link

The dryers we plan to purchase are large stainless models from HarvestRight, with a maximum annual capacity of 2,500 lbs. These are commercially rated models (required for placement in a licensed kitchen, a health department requirement). We will gather data during the 2-year pilot project and use this data to plan and implement phase 2, which includes further development of freeze drying locally. One goal of phase 2 is to establish and foster a small business based on freeze drying. Another is to acquire a mobile facility that would provide small batch processing capability (canning, dehydrating, and freeze drying) to small farmers, allowing them to create a value-added marketable product. The mobile facility would also serve as an educational platform for local schools and agricultural extension, demonstrating and teaching food preservation on location.

The cost of the pilot project will be $20,000. The final cost of phase 2 is yet to be determined, but will be in the neighborhood of $75,000.

Your donation will be 100% dedicated to this specific project.

Left = Reconstituted Freeze
Dried
Right = Thawed Frozen
You’d prefer …
FD Vegs for stir frying.
Just add water to reconstitute.
Fresh Bell Peppers
Freeze Dried Bell Peppers

Go Fund Me Link

Updated June 1, 2020

Harvest Dinner Fundraiser

Dearest Community,
Please join The Community Wellness Project at the annual Harvest Dinner on Thursday, October 24th, in support of garden education, local farm-to-cafeteria and public school nutrition efforts! Hosted at Finnriver by the Community Wellness Project. Tickets can be purchased at jccwp.org

Your tickets and contributions go to supporting school garden outdoor classrooms, community connected learning opportunities and healthy farm-to-cafeteria menu options for both the Chimacum and Port Townsend School Districts.

Creating a foundation of healthy eating in school children supports academic progress and all around well-being.

Hands-on activities in the school gardens gives students a direct connection with the food they eat and not only will improve wellness but also plants the seed of stewardship of the natural world around us.
Please help share the word of our little fundraiser and post to your events calendar!

Sincerely,

Shayna Wiseman, Community Wellness Program

History Articles

New Food Bank Gardens for Jefferson County

 2014/04/24 /  

New Food Bank Garden Project for Port Townsend and Jefferson County

Written by Lys B, Port Townsend Food Bank Gardens Leadership Team

The first Port Townsend Food Bank Garden was established in March, 2012, with a grant from the Master Gardner Foundation of Jefferson County to the JCFBA (Jefferson County Food Bank Association).  The grant provided for a hoop house situated at Mountain View Commons on garden space transferred from the YMCA that is designated to grow food specifically for the Port Townsend Food Bank.

During the summer of 2012, produce was also furnished for the food bank from a garden located at Port Townsend High School and seeded by high school student volunteers. Prior to the PT Food Bank Gardens Project, the vegetables from this garden were rarely harvested since students were out of school in the summertime.   Thanks to the project, volunteers delivered a total of 780 pounds of fresh, organic food to the PT Food Bank from both gardens that year.

The 2013 growing season saw the PTFB Gardens Project expand to three gardens, including additional space at the Quimper Grange Garden. Thanks to a generous grant from the Jefferson County Master Gardener’s Foundation to the Port Townsend High School, the size of this garden doubled in order to grow more food. It now has 5000 square feet and produced 1600 pounds of organic vegetables for the PT Food Bank last year.

Food Bank Garden volunteers work to renew garden beds at the Quimper Grange Garden in March, 2014. 

Two other gardening efforts furnish produce for Jefferson County food banks.  The Swan Valley Community Garden in Port Hadlock has several beds dedicated to the Tri – Area Food Bank and the Quilcene Demonstration Garden has dedicated a large space for the Quilcene Food Bank.  The Quilcene Demontration Garden is run  under the able leadership of master gardeners Juanita Thomas and Anita McCue. Vegetable gardening classes are offered every Monday at noon at the Quilcene garden.

Volunteers celebrate hoop house creation

If you are interested in more information or in participating in the PT Food Bank Gardens Project, please contact Karen K., Coordinator, at ptfoodbankgarden@gmail.com or call 531-2536. 2014

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Grange Garden Grant Evaluation

QUIMPER GRANGE FOOD BANK GARDEN EVALUATION FOR
TRI-AREA GARDEN CLUB 2020 GRANT 

September 27, 2020

The Quimper Food Bank Garden has supplied thousands of pounds of fresh, organically grown produce annually to the Port Townsend Food Bank. In 2019, over 2,900 pounds were donated to the Port Townsend Food Bank, which served 16,463 households last year. Current utilization of the area food banks has increased by 800 more families since the onset of the corona virus pandemic. Quimper Food Bank Garden is committed to increase food production to meet that demand.

Quimper Food Bank Garden supplies a wide variety of organically grown vegetables through all four seasons, and fruit during the summer. Until this grant, potatoes had not been grown due to garden space constraints. We wished to expand our operations and add potatoes to our crops, using fabric pots to increase the available growing area. Using fabric pots facilitated the ability offer an organic potato at the food bank, created a system to facilitate harvesting, kept small potato seed from sprouting in undesirable locations, and aided with weed suppression.

EVALUATION:

The stated evaluation plan was to gather anecdotal evidence from the Port Townsend Food Bank customers through volunteers who work at the food bank.

Regular food bank volunteers are aware of specific food bank customers who, for health reasons, are unable to eat non-organic produce, potatoes being a specific vegetable of concern. These identified customers were offered organically grown potatoes through this grant. Despite the onset of the Covid- 19 virus, where it was more difficult for direct interaction with customers as in years past, volunteers did hear from a number of people how appreciative they were to be offered the organic potatoes in lieu of non-organic. This extra level of care provided a much-needed boost, both nutritionally and emotionally, especially during this time of pandemic.

The harvest of the potato bags was quite simple. Placing a 1/2” screened box over a wheelbarrow, one bag at a time was dumped and sorted. This kept the work elevated to table height, ensuring that any of our volunteers could harvest with ease. Nearly all of the very small potato seed was captured by the screen, keeping it out of the re-usable soil, as per our plan. The sifted soil was then amended with compost, and replaced back into an emptied bag for replanting.

In addition, the rows of fabric pots along our fence line completely damped down weed growth. This was the first year that we did not have to weed the interior fence line.

Looking at the harvest numbers, we felt there should be a greater crop yield. We did some research, and discovered some possible explanations:

  1. WSU Extension Growing Groceries instructors have heard from a number of people that their potato crops did not do well this year, possibly due to a blight.
  2. The fabric pots dry out much more quickly than if the crop was grown in the ground. Initially watered by hand, a soaker hose was installed in mid-June, but a number of plants had ceased to thrive by that time.
  3. Layers of straw was alternated with soil, but because of the rapid drying of fabric in #2 above, the straw was likely an additional factor in drying.

Quimper Grange Food Bank Garden is grateful for the opportunity that your grant provided to “think out of the box” with this project. In the spirit of sustainability, the fabric pots, and the remaining soil, are being used again immediately. A fall crop of radicchio, radish and elephant garlic were planted in the pots, re-using the potato soil and supplementing with remaining compost. We are committed to try the potato project again next year. We believe our harvest will be much better next year, and will keep the Tri-Area Garden Club apprised.

TOTAL GRANT REQUEST (Granted $334.00)$333.88$344.63$10.63 overage covered with a donation to Quimper FB Garden
Black fabric bags filled with soil and potatoes line the interior of the fence
Potatoes dumped into a screen over a wheelbarrow re-captures all the soil and most of the small seeds.
Final packaging and ready to deliver to the Port Townsend Food Bank!

Delivering Fresh Produce

Juri Jennings, displaced from work by COVID-19, started a bike delivery business to deliver groceries in Port Townsend WA: Peddler PT. Her website has a donation link for folks to pay it forward for those who need home delivery, but may not be able to afford it. Check out her site HERE or above.

Juri’s first delivery on 9/8/20 to the PT Foodbank: 115 pounds of fresh vegetables from Dundee Hill Community Garden and the Quimper Grange Foodbank Garden. In the box she’s holding are hand-built salads with calendula blossoms, in her other, a freshly delivered cucumber!


Yesterday, to reduce car traffic and make delivery easier, she began a route from Foodbank and Community Gardens and home gardens to deliver to the Port Townsend Foodbank. It should be noted that in a year, gleaned and donated fresh produce totals over 20,000 pounds, conservatively.


PT High School Garden

Young volunteers, Zach works hard and a community success story in the making!

Our youngest volunteer, almost 4 years old, masked while working and with hands freshly washed, snacking after a busy hour harvesting bush beans and carrying [light!] crates.

Kids LOVE fresh kale–and kale chips!Port Townsend High School garden supplies the schools with fresh, organically grown produce for Stacey Larsen and her team to do scratch cooking. During the end of the school year, during COVID, they produced over 20,000 breakfasts and lunches delivered by school busses.The YMCA took over during the summer, adding a weekly dinner by Grace Love of Nadine’s Kitchen, mom of an adorable toddler!What teamwork!!!During the summer, the harvest is sent to the school kitchens for freezing and saucing, and to the Port Townsend Foodbank.Students grow and harvest during the school year; volunteers grow and harvest during the summer. All under the leadership of Farmer Zach.

Farmer Zach, an ever presence at the PT High School Garden.

Swan Farm – Sept. 5, 2020

Hey, all. 

Wanted to keep you up to date on how we’re doing.
We’re up to over 880 lbs. so far and should come close to or go over last years total of 1507 lbs. once our winter squash starts coming in. That’s pretty good since we’re cultivating less plots than last year. 


Rich, the walk paths look GREAT! It will make a big difference next year. We’ll be spending more time gardening and less chasing after the weeds. Thanks!


Thanks, Mike for working the compost. It’ll be nice not have to go pick it up at John’s farm so often. 

Thanks Suzanne and Susie for keeping the flats of stuff coming. 


Thanks Ginny for your weekly offerings which continue to delight!


Thanks, Mary for picking up the slack on everything and being our co-manager.


As far as the jobs list is concerned:

If you want to transplant the beets out of the gh, I think they’ll be fine. Work them in anywhere. Then we won’t have to water everyday… 🙂 The lettuce plants that have gone to seed can come out. They can go in the compost pile. The green bean plants can also come out. Suzanne you can plant your seedlings anywhere you think when they’re ready.
And anything else you can think of.


Have a great weekend. See you soon.


Happy gardening!

Karen

RainCoast – Sept. 2020

Hey Volunteer Team

We had a spectacular week in the garden last week, with so much accomplished! Special gratitude to all who participated (Kevin Gale, Mary Hunt, Mary Burke, Denny and me)!!!

Kevin Gale hauling chips to a reclaimed pathway on the far side of the greenhouse where we were able to erect a shelf on which to store our garden equipment (watering cans and slug traps, supplies (organic fertilizers), etc.


We really cleaned up the appearance of the front gate by relocating this stuff! I’d like to make it a bit lighter of a time/energy investment this week, so we can catch our collective breaths. AND I have some huge time commitments and deadlines this week (especially for our – Food Bank Farm & Gardens’s – participation in next week’s Jefferson County Farm Tour), so must budget my time wisely this week too.

There is quite a bit of lettuce to harvest in the garden tomorrow, so we should be quite busy making salad mixes. Remember to bring your favorite harvest knives, as we will be taking quite a few heads of lettuce. I will be SURE to bring the salad spinner!

I found out today in conversation with Kathy Ryan (who is FBFG’s president and who also sits on the Jefferson County Food Bank Association board) that most of our harvest goes to the Quilcene Food Bank! 

On Thursday, Sept 10 (night of waning the half moon), we should continue cultivation tasks of weeding, watering outside the fence, fertilizing the heavy feeders, trellising if needed, sanitizing i.e. picking diseased leaves and putting them in the trash, and maybe some site prep for the new composting operation. I will make a fresh batch of “soil soup” and have it ready. If the temperature stays reasonable maybe we can start at 10 am too… 10 am on the 10th! Hope to see you in the garden this week!

 –          Lys

Eat Local First!

Eat Local Month – September 2020

September is a great time to enjoy the bounty of goodness produced by our many local farms. From fresh dairy products, to delicious vegetables and fruits, to high quality meat and eggs, shoppers can meet virtually all their grocery needs buying directly from farms and local retailers right here on the Olympic Peninsula.

By supporting local farmers and businesses, consumers are not only building meaningful relationships with the people who grow, cook or sell their food, they are also ensuring more dollars stay in our local communities and supporting the health and longevity of our farmland for many years to come. 

Find the Fork! Community members can look for local food with the Eat Local First fork icon at local restaurants, retailers, grocers and farmers markets.

Learn more about Eat Local Month by visiting the website.

Virtual Farm Tour – 2020

2020 Virtual Farm Tour and FoodBank Food and Gardens has 4 gardens represented!


The Tour will be a unique opportunity to engage with members of the farming community online. Professionally taken photographs will visually transport participants to 21 local farm sites. Live online presentations throughout the weekend will give people a chance to interact with local farmers.

The Virtual Farm Tour will also provide information about buying directly from farmers, and resources for home gardeners. Visit here to learn more and participate!


Time: Various, check website.

Location: Online

Virtual Farm Tour – 2020

2020 Virtual Farm Tour and FoodBank Food and Gardens has 4 gardens represented!


The Tour will be a unique opportunity to engage with members of the farming community online. Professionally taken photographs will visually transport participants to 21 local farm sites. Live online presentations throughout the weekend will give people a chance to interact with local farmers.

The Virtual Farm Tour will also provide information about buying directly from farmers, and resources for home gardeners. Visit here to learn more and participate!


Time: Various, check website.

Location: Online

PT High School – An Expanded Food Program

In the September 7, 2020 issue of the PT Leader the focus is on the two missions of Zach Gayne, the garden coordinator for Port Townsend High School. One is educating students about how their food is grown. The other is producing as much food as he can for the high school’s cafeteria and the local food bank.

Read the full article here or click on the highlighted text at the beginning of the paragraph above.