Good Times at Garden by the Sea

The Ocean Shores Food Bank has harvested 8 beds of fresh vegetables at Garden by the Sea for the past 12 years. Through the dedicated efforts of our volunteer staff, guests have been able to enjoy the best in west coast produce since 2008. Terri Wilson and Susie Robinson would like to share their stories.
By Gary Josephson, Roving Reporter.

Q: How did the Food Bank get involved with the beds at Garden by the Sea?

Terri: We started by volunteering our help, because we knew Garden by the Sea had donated 8 beds and dedicated them to the food bank. Some of us started with harvesting and ended up helping with planting – it kept evolving from that. Now we take care of all the beds and manage them.

Susie: The Gardens were the vision of Sushila Ravard and was established in 2008 with the work of many others in the community. Sushila talked with Pastor Bob Hoem (of Galilean Lutheran Church) and it was decided we could “borrow” the land only if we had food bank growing beds. Personally I didn’t think it was ever going to go, but it’s flourishing and we’re now in our 12th year!

Q: How many Food Bank people are involved and what are their various duties?

Terri: We have 4 to 5 food bank people involved at this time. In the past we’ve had more, but because of the corona virus, we now have less. Duties are planting, weeding, maintenance. We have volunteers who water on a weekly basis and then we have those who harvest.

Susie: Terri heads it up, I’m there, Laura McCann, Joanne Gallaher and Sabine Price. Watering has been crucial this summer, sometimes doing it twice a day. Susan Kloeppel comes every distribution day to help us harvest, which takes about 90 minutes. It’s a big job!

Q: How many garden beds do you have and what variety of food do they produce?

Terri: We have 8 beds that we maintain. They produce radishes, turnips, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, snap peas, beans and chives. We also produce flowers. We have many gorgeous sunflowers!

Susie: Bridgett Timme (a Master Gardener at Garden by the Sea) brings us fresh herbs. Some are dried and put into sweet labeled bags. Bridgett also brings baskets of thyme, rosemary, oregano and sage. We have lots of good cooks that come through our food bank lines and they are all thrilled with her herbs.

Q: How much food is harvested by the Food Bank and how is it distributed?

Terri: Usually in a season (we start planting in April and wind it up by October) we average between 500 and 600 pounds. We pass it out on each Thursday distribution. In the past we would have baskets set up. The clients would come through, choose what they wanted and we’d bag it up for them.

Susie: Every car that now comes to the food bank drive through get bags according to their family size. People are overwhelmed with the amount of good food they get from our food bank. Each year it seems like we get a little better and a little better. We are NOT master gardeners. We just take what we learned from our mommies and daddies and run with it!

Though the growing season is at an end, and harvesting is nearly complete, those interested in volunteering to help with the Garden by the Sea food bank beds, perhaps for the next season, can send an email to food@oceanshoresfoodbank.org.

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