Students at Corvallis High School recently had their first “official” harvest of produce from the Spartan Garden, which is a partnership between the Linus Pauling Institute and the high school.

More than 30 pounds of fresh peas were picked and shared with schools throughout the district and about 50 pounds of lettuce was picked and shared with students as well as a local nonprofit that supports low-income families.

Students were invited to take home some of the lettuce, peas and other produce from the first harvest. And while most just packed up a bag and took it away with them, one student returned after his classmates had left and asked if he could take a bit more of the produce home for his family. Candace Russo, Linus Pauling Institute’s Healthy Youth Program Garden Manager, loaded him up with a huge bag of produce and sent him on his way, and she said his pride in bringing home such good food was tangible.

This summer, the Healthy Youth Program, which is supported by a grant from USANA via its United for Youth movement, will also host “Fresh Grown Cooking,” a cooking and gardening program at the Spartan Garden.

Fresh Grown Cooking is a free, four-week cooking and gardening class that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables into wholesome meals. Parents and children will explore the process of “soil to seed to plate” as they learn gardening basics and different and affordable ways to incorporate fresh produce into nourishing family meals. Dinner will be prepared and shared during family style meals at each class. The hope is that low-income families will benefit from this program.

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