July 30, 2010

Hamline student org grows organic vegetables for community elders

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A bounty of organic vegetables is growing in a once unused space behind Hamline United Methodist Church. Every week, Hamline University students harvest what is ripe and deliver the nutritious produce to elderly residents.

“We wanted to be a part of the relationship between the university and the Hamline-Midway neighborhood,” third-year student Emma Schroeder said.

Schroeder is a member of the Hamline student organization SPROUT, which stands for Students Proposing Real Options for Underutilized Territory. The group focuses on issues of food justice and fostering community through food. They started the garden last year by collaborating with the church and the Hamline-Midway Elders program.

This year there are not only more vegetables to give away, but more people receiving the goods. The two small gardens run by SPROUT are bursting with vegetables and herbs of all sorts: tomatoes, beans, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, peppers and more. The bags of produce are delivered to more than 20 homes as well as residents of the Hamline Hi-Rise assisted living community.

Internships through Hamline’s Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice are making it possible for SPROUT members, Marin Ryan and Liesl Weber, to keep up with all the work and planning required for the garden and to deliver the food. When the growing season is over, SPROUT will continue with plans to expand the gardens and community outreach.