A Community Harvest

You may know that the Nederland Food Pantry has provided food and essential support to those in need throughout the Peak to Peak Community since 1986. (More here https://nederlandfoodpantry.org/)

You might not be aware that during the summer months, a great deal of the food offered to patrons is grown and harvested locally through the Food Panty’s own garden and the Nederland Community Garden initiative.

The food bank’s raised garden beds, cold frame structures, and greenhouse are located on the Nederland Community Center grounds. However, a “growing” army of gardeners also routinely brings in a haul from their greenhouses scattered around the area.

The Food Bank Gardens are tended to by volunteers who prepare the beds whenever spring decides to show up, turn the soil, plant the seeds, water throughout the summer, and harvest as needed.

Crops such as peas, Swiss chard, kale, radishes, tomatoes, and potatoes thrive in the short growing season above 8,000 feet.

During the peak of the harvest season, the pantry receives 40 to 50 pounds of produce weekly from the pantry garden and various contributions from other growers.

In addition, Kendra Trauth, the food pantry’s Garden Manager, also manages the town community garden.

The Nederland Community Garden is a collection of 26 plots available to area residents who tend and grow crops, often for their consumption. The garden is behind the businesses on 1st street and backs up to Middle Boulder Creek. Sit on the back patio as Crosscut Pizza or peer out the back of Busey Brews, and you might spot a gardener watering their plot.

The 4 x 8 plots are open to locals on a first-come, first serve basis. Several of the plots each year are taken by food bank patrons who, in addition to learning a new skill, often become contributors of produce to the bank during the growing season.

Trauth mentioned that watching food bank patrons become more self-sufficient by growing their own wonderful, fresh food is one of the most gratifying aspects of the Community Garden.

Growing crops at altitude is a constant process of trial and error and, according to Trauth, requires patience and experimentation. Rotating crops to take advantage of the nutrients that each contributes and exhausts from the soil is a bit of art.

The pantry’s greenhouse also affords the opportunity to “winter-over” some plants to produce genuinely localized seeds acclimated to the specific growing conditions found here.

Want to get involved?

Volunteers are always needed for watering, planting, and harvesting. If you’re interested in getting involved, reach out to Kendra Trauth at 815-276-7183 or kendra@nederlandfoodpantry.org. She is also taking requests for Community Garden plots for the 2023 growing season.

In addition to giving back and contributing to your community, the Food Bank and Community Garden initiatives are a great way to learn a new skill and meet area residents.

The Nederland Food Bank and Clothes Closet is located in the Nederland Community Center at 750 Highway 72  (West Wing)

They will gratefully accept your donations of money or goods during our hours of operation or by appointment.

If donating food, please follow the donation guidelines found here – https://nederlandfoodpantry.org/wishlist/

The Clothing Closet accepts ONLY clean and gently used clothing, footwear, and outerwear.