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The Garden Kitchen promotes health and community engagement

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Posted at 8:21 AM, Apr 12, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Located off 4th Avenue and 32nd Street on the Southside of town, The Garden Kitchen aims to empower individuals to take control of their food sources while promoting physical and mental well-being.

Operated by the University of Arizona, The Garden Kitchen functions as a seed-to-table program, offering hands-on lessons in planting, nurturing, harvesting, and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables. According to Jenn Parlin, assistant agent at The Garden Kitchen, the program emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices and the benefits of locally sourced produce.

"By growing our own food or supporting local farmers, we reduce the environmental impact associated with transportation and storage," Parlin said. “We have greater control over the quality and nutritional content of what we consume."

Not only does gardening have physical health benefits but gardening also serves as a therapeutic activity.

"We see gardening as not just a physical activity but also a way to promote mental well-being," Parlin said. "Whether it's finding a moment of Zen or bonding with neighbors, the garden offers a space for rejuvenation and connection."

But maintaining the garden requires community effort. Parlin mentioned the crucial role of volunteers in sustaining the program's operations. Kathy Bender-Coin, one volunteer, mentioned the diversity of volunteers and the sense of community brought together by The Garden Kitchen.

“There’s younger people, there’s older people, there’s people from different ethnic groups, and I think it’s really great that we all come together and just love gardening,” Bender-Coin said.

Through weekly workshops and volunteer opportunities, The Garden Kitchen encourages individuals to take an active role in food production and community building. Whether you’re new or you’ve gardened before, everyone is welcome to participate in maintaining their garden.

For those interested in getting involved, The Garden Kitchen invites the public to attend weekly sessions held every Thursday at 7 AM. For more information, visit their website.