CMN programs help provide fresh, healthy food

The growing season is here, and for many that means the pursuit of fresh, local food has begun.

The College of Menominee Nation is offering several opportunities for gardening and local food this summer, including the following:

• The CMN campus garden is accepting volunteers to participate in a Worker Share Program. Program participants will volunteer four hours per week from late May through early October and receive a box of produce with an average value of $25 each week. Harvests will vary each week. Space is limited.

• The Kehtekaewak Farmers Market will be held from 12-5 p.m. Fridays from June 2 through Oct. 13 in the Sustainability Development Institute parking lot at the CMN campus, N172 State Highway 47-55, Keshena. Market items typically include produce, meats, crafts, arts, music and prepared foods made in and around the Menominee Reservation. Credit, debit and Foodshare QUEST cards will be accepted, and both Foodshare and Menominee Food Distribution Program participants will receive a dollar-per-dollar match on all fresh food purchases.

The Kehtekaewak Farmers Market does not charge a vendor fee. Anyone with homemade goods to sell is encouraged to participate. To help those who don’t have time to man a market booth, CMN is offering a new consignment program for homegrown or homemade food products. Participants can drop off their goods before the market and set a price. If the items sell, CMN will pay the participants. Unsold items will either be returned or donated to food distribution.

• For home gardeners, CMN offers free tillage services for enrolled tribal members.

• There will also be a free plant give-away during the first Kehtekaewak Farmers Market on June 2. Slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli and kale plants will be given away to community members. Nearly 1,000 plants are available, but they typically go fast.

• The University of Wisconsin-Extension and CMN are partnering to offer 4-H garden clubs for children and families, with special emphasis on connecting Menominee traditions and language to garden activities. Meetings are held from 5-6:30 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at the CMN campus in Keshena.

The Neopit Woodland Boys and Girls Club is also hosting 4-H garden club meetings from 5-6:30 p.m. the final Thursday of each month. Participants will learn traditional skills, Menominee language and enjoy a meal with fresh produce, all in a family friendly setting.

• Home gardeners also are needed as volunteers in school gardens maintained by CMN at the Keshena Primary School and the Woodland Boys and Girls Club in Neopit. The gardens serve as learning tools for students throughout the summer and fall.

For information about any of the gardening or market programs offered by the College of Menominee Nation this summer, contact Sam Knapp, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, at 715-799-6226, ext. 3154, or sknapp@menominee.edu.

For information about 4-H garden clubs, contact either Sophie Teller at 715-799-6226, ext. 3234, or sofie.teller@ces.uwex.edu, or Jennifer Gauthier at 715-799-6226, ext. 5713, or jennifer.gauthier@ces.uwex.edu).

To volunteer at Keshena Primary School or Woodland Boys and Girls Club gardens, contact Amanda Reiter at 715-799-6226, ext. 3148, or amreiter@menominee.edu.