This is our first year in the Build It Up program.  Our past gardens have never panned out very well.  The kids loved playing in the wild chaos, but we never managed a useful harvest.  After discovering a food allergy that restricts ALL commercial preservatives, I was desperate to learn better garden practices and how to preserve safe food.  A friend told me about the classes offered through the Build It Up Program.  It sounded like exactly what we needed!      

I applied to the program hoping to learn some preservation techniques and have some guidance when problems arose.  I got so much more…  My garden has been better planned and maintained—trellising and pruning have been total game changers!  The biggest surprise has been the involvement of my kids.  My oldest loves talking about “his” garden.  It is his playground and hobby.  He wants to grow enough next year to sell and donate to people who need it.  He hated “beans” but being allowed to attend the cooking classes has expanded his palate.   My youngest doesn’t care for harvesting and bug annihilation as much as his sibling, but he enjoys helping make new recipes.  Volunteering to help cut fabric this spring opened his eyes to the world of community service. 

 The community provided by this program has been invaluable—YouTube and Google can’t hold a candle to gardening friends who deeply understand your frustration with overnight pest takeovers and share their favorite recipes when you haven’t a clue what to do with all the extra veggies. Gardening is a lifelong learning adventure, but I’m grateful for the opportunities provided by Build It Up.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s garden.