Community Impact

Where does the food go?

Culinary Arts Program

The Gathering Garden has a unique relationship with NIC’s Culinary Arts Program. The garden grows produce that these students incorporate in dishes they serve at Emery’s Restaurant and NICularts Deli located in the Hedlund Building on campus. Throughout the year, Culinary Arts students tour the garden and earn internship hours for participating in ongoing garden activities.

The program often dehydrates cherry tomatoes, makes pesto from the basil, and ferments beets and cucumbers in order to incorporate the garden’s produce well into the Spring Semester.  The Culinary Arts Program helps support the Gathering Garden by hosting the Garden’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Lakeside Love Affair.

CSA Workshare

A portion of the food grown at the Gathering Garden is dedicated to CSA Workshare participants. These individuals (or couples) help with garden work in exchange for a share of weekly food throughout the growing season. Learn more about the CSA Workshare.

Food Banks

All surplus produce grown at the Gathering Garden is distributed to local food banks. 

Benefits of a Community Learning Garden

The benefits of a Community Learning Garden are far reaching:

Access to food / nutrition
Physical activity
Mental health
Social connection
Mutual trust
Collective decision making
Civic engagement
Connection with nature
Community building / cohesion