Demonstration Garden Field Days Reinforce Produce Donations

Over 10,000 pounds of fresh produce from demonstration gardens donated to food pantries last summer

June 29, 2017, 10:38 am | Cynthia Haynes, Susan DeBlieck

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a series of six field days this summer at demonstration gardens across the state. The field days are free and open to the public.

Demonstration Garden

The main focus of the field days will be donation gardens. This is the second year ISU Extension and Outreach’s Master Gardener program has collected produce grown in the demonstration gardens and donated it to local food pantries. Last year demonstration garden donations topped 10,000 pounds of fresh produce. Iowa Master Gardeners volunteered over 860 hours to support food security in their communities in 2016.

“Most gardeners have excess produce and this helps provide them with ideas of what to do with that excess,” said Cindy Haynes, associate professor and extension specialist in horticulture at Iowa State University. “If a gardener is coming to a field day they are probably a member of a local community, and this allows them to learn more about and connect with food pantries in their area.”

Field days will also discuss how to set up a garden in a small space. Examples of vertical gardening, raised beds and compact vegetables will be on display at each demonstration garden.  

“You don’t need a large space to create a garden,” Haynes said. “A small garden can still produce enough vegetables that growers can eat something from that garden every week. Space doesn’t have to be a limitation.”

Edible flowers that can be used in salads, cookies or cakes such as pansies, nasturtiums and marigolds will also be discussed.

The 2017 Demonstration Garden field day schedule

  • July 18, 6 p.m., at the Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm (6320 500th Street, Sutherland)
  • July 20, 6:30 p.m., at the Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm (111 North Street, Fruitland)
  • August 1, 6:30 p.m., at the Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm (53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis)
  • August 2, 6:30 p.m., at the Northern Research and Demonstration Farm (310 S. Main Street, Kanawha)
  • August 3, 6:30 p.m., at the Horticulture Station (55519 170th Street, Ames)
  • August 5, 4 p.m., at the Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm (3321 290th Street, Nashua)
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