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From Plant to Plate: Getting Involved with UNG’s Hometown Harvest

Photos by: Sarah Cochran

With days growing shorter and nights longer, the University of North Georgia’s garden club, Hometown Harvest, wraps up the end of their summer harvest and looks forward to the fall season. The garden club is run by Dr. David Patterson, an associate biology professor at UNG, and meets every Friday at 8 a.m. at the Vickery House.

The garden originally started as an heirloom seed garden that helped preserve these plants and grow the seed bank at UNG. Over the past three years, the garden has transitioned into a hybrid garden that grows both heirloom seeds and food for the food pantry. The garden also provides food for kids in the Lumpkin County school system.

The garden is a U-pick garden that is always available to all students. (You can pick tomatoes right now if you want.) Bags for harvesting produce can be found on the back porch of the Vickery House next to the scale. After harvesting, make sure to weigh the produce collected and write it down on the clipboard. Currently, the garden has rosemary, basil, green bell pepper, butternut squash and an abundance of cherry tomatoes.

The Vickery House also has a food pantry available to students who are in need. It is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has a wide variety of items that students might need ranging from food items to school supplies, toiletries and even medical supplies. Students only need to fill out a basic form so the staff knows what their needs are and what they can do to help. The food bank is always accepting donations. Any student interested in doing so simply needs to drop off their donation during the available hours.

The garden is a four season garden that has a rotating variety of produce grown year round. Dr. Patterson stated that they are finishing out the summer harvest and then transitioning to the fall garden which includes greens, carrots, beets, and root vegetables.

UNG sophomore biology pre-med major, Jami Nakan, has been a part of Hometown Harvest for three garden seasons. “Growing your own food and being a part of the process with the entire team has given me a new perspective on the food I buy from the supermarket,” says Nakan. She continues stating, “The Hometown Harvest program has given me an opportunity to research organic food production to make a garden model that can be easily achieved in the K-12 system and help combat food insecurity.”

The Hometown Harvest Hub, which is on the back porch of the Vickery House, has also recently started. It has a refrigerator with free food and drinks, a coffee maker with free coffee and microwave for the meals found in the freezer.

Hometown Harvest is always looking for new members to help its garden grow and bring in new ideas. Show up at the designated time or email Dr. Patterson at [email protected] if interested in getting involved. They can also be found on their Facebook page

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From Plant to Plate: Getting Involved with UNG’s Hometown Harvest