Program at The Helping Center garden plants seeds for healthier eating

Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association member Beth Mortenson inspects vegetable plants at The Helping Center of Marble Falls’ community garden. The gardeners are hosting a program, ‘Growing a Healthy Harvest — Season to Season,’ on June 22 at the community garden, 1315 Broadway. The program focuses on developing healthy habits through gardening. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton


MARBLE FALLS — If cost or availability of healthy foods is a barrier to eating better, Highland Lakes Master Gardener Karen Wilkens has an answer.

Grow your own.But she’s not about to throw people out there and tell them to plant a garden, or even one plant, without a bit of help and support. The Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association wants to get everybody eating healthier and is organizing “Growing a Healthy Harvest — Season to Season” on June 22 at The Helping Center of Marble Falls’ community garden, 1315 Broadway, to arm folks with the knowledge to grow some of their own good food.

It doesn’t stop there. The Master Gardeners have lined up several people to show attendees how to fix their fresh produce for delicious dining.

“We’re trying to improve the nutrition of the community,” Wilkens said. “We’re trying to improve it by multiple approaches with the main two being: No. 1, growing healthy, and No. 2, eating healthy.”

The event starts at 8:30 a.m. with a tour of the community garden followed by the “Healthy Harvest” presentation at 9 a.m. Patty Leander, a contributing writer to Texas Gardener magazine and a Texas Master Gardener vegetable specialist, will lead the conversation. She’ll outline ideas and tips for year-round vegetable gardening for the Highland Lakes.

At 10:30 a.m., Burnet County AgriLIFE Extension specialist Linda Wells and other Master Gardeners will hold a question-and-answer session so people can dig a bit deeper into the topics.[box]IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Growing a Healthy Harvest — Season to Season” by Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association
WHERE: The Helping Center community garden, 1315 Broadway in Marble Falls
WHEN: June 22 with tour of garden at 8:30 a.m., presentation at 9 a.m. and question-and-answer session at 10:30 a.m.
FOR MORE: Call Master Gardener Karen Wilkens at (512) 789-3955[/box]

“We’ll also have several area chefs preparing food with (garden produce), so people can learn how easy it can be done,” Wilkens said. “People are going to be amazed at how many great dishes can be made from the garden.”

People can even taste some of the dishes. Wells also will present ideas and tips on preserving produce.

Beth Mortenson, a Highland Lakes Master Gardener vegetable specialist, said even if people plant a few vegetables in the future, it’s a step toward healthier living. And, hopefully, they’ll develop a love for producing their own food.

“I hope people learn the joy and simplicity of growing your own food,” Mortenson said. “It’s very rewarding.”

With many Americans developing health issues related to poor eating habits, Wilkens said planting a garden and eating the produce is a good way to break that cycle.

“People can still take control of their own lives and health,” she said.

It all starts with a little dirt and a few seeds.

For more on the event or to help at the community garden, call Wilkens at (512) 789-3955.