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Growing Pizza in Delaware

Teaching Kids Gardening Using a Favorite Food

by Deena Kloss

Pizza Garden LA 1This summer, at the Delaware Community Garden, the Kid’s Club is tending to a garden. But this isn’t your standard, garden-variety plot of land. Instead of a rectangle with rows, this 12-foot diameter circular garden has “slices.” In each wedge shape, kids grow different herbs and vegetables commonly found as pizza ingredients and toppings, including items such as basil, parsley, tomatoes, peppers and onions.  At harvest time, the club will have a big pizza party featuring homemade pizzas made from the produce the children grew themselves.

The Kid’s Club meets every second Monday  at 6 p.m. by the garden, and is led by garden volunteers Bob Sullivan-Neer and Master Gardeners Regina Grywalski and Diane Gelinas. During each session these volunteers spend  time teaching the kids about growing and performing garden chores. During the rest of the time, the group makes different garden-related crafts that are used to decorate the Community Garden, or are given to the children to take home for use in their own gardens.

Pizza Garden LA 2There are several other raised bed planters onsite, boasting an array of vegetables such as radishes, snap peas and arugula. The kids learn about recycling by repurposing old wooden materials into new uses. For instance, a worn-out wooden ladder was painted bright pink and is now used to grow climbing vegetables. An old wooden headboard and footboard, painted bright yellow, coupled with old pallets filled with dirt to become a “mattress,” combine to become a literal flower bed, in which brightly colored zinnias will be planted.

The Delaware Community Garden is in its second year and growing quickly. Their original plot of raised beds is occupied by the Kid’s Club, a few local civic organizations and the Delaware Master Gardeners’ demo plots, who donate their yields to local food banks. Through financial contributions raised by the Master Gardeners, the Community Garden was able to add 41 new raised beds this year. These sold out quickly, adding 17 new families to the gardening community. The plan is to  expand with more raised beds as they become available.

The Community Garden is also the backdrop to the new Eastside Farmers’ Market, which features local growers and bakers on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. through October.

The Delaware Community Garden and the Eastside Farmers’ Market are both hosted by The Delaware County Community Market, a new concept nonprofit organization founded by local businessman Rick Dinovo. The market opened in April 2010, operates its own deli and carries conventional produce when local produce is not available. The rest of the grocery, baked items, produce and hand-crafted gift items are made locally and put on consignment by local vendors, who receive seventy-five percent of the selling price. Five percent stays at the market and twenty percent of every purchase made goes to the customer’s choice of participating local nonprofit agencies. The market has partnered with nearly one hundred local nonprofit groups and has raised more than $100,000 to date for these partners.

Location: 222 E. William St., Delaware. Learn more by visiting dccmc.com, facebook.com/DelawareCommunityGarden, or calling 740-610-0091.

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