In the summer of 2009, Kachemak Heritage Land Trust grew potatoes for the Homer Food Pantry in a portion of the community garden, with help from some of our friends.
Compost to enrich the soil was provided by Jim Van Oss, and Homer Saw & Cycle assisted with tilling the area. Spenard Builders Supply gave us a discount on filter fabric to keep weeds in check, and Neil Wagner donated an assortment of seed potatoes from local sources. Some of Lyn Maslow’s grade-school students from West Homer Elementary School did the planting.
Volunteers tended the plants over the summer, and the elementary school students harvested the potatoes in early October, donating over 300 lbs to the Homer Food Pantry!
The Potato Project is connecting youth to the concept of locally grown food while also giving back to the community. This successful and popular project extended to a larger portion of the garden this year, with carrots planted in addition to potatoes. An exceptionally soggy summer proved more than the carrots could handle, though the potato harvest was another great success for the kids and the food pantry.
The Homer Foundation provided funding for the expanded Potato Project. Jim Van Oss and Neil Wagner again came through with compost and seed potatoes, and Shirley Schollenberg provided hay mulch. We thank them as well as all the wonderful volunteers who prepared the ground and helped kids with the planting: Steve Dean, Nadia Klingel, Vicki Lowe, Lyn Maslow, Anna Meredith, Jessica Ryan, and Lance Williamson with his Bobcat. Additional volunteers who helped with weeding and harvesting include Jenny Edwards, Rowan Mulvey, Randall Pine, and interns from the Youth Conservation Corps and Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.
A section of the upper garden area is still reserved for South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services, whose staff and kids have been a great help with garden maintenance and who continue to inspire us with their enthusiasm.