Posts Tagged ‘Shared Harvest’

The one thing we know all too well in our small office, we can’t do what we do without community support. And we have a remarkable community we have in North Idaho. This Thanksgiving holiday, we’d like to point out some of the ways that people have come together this year to make our great region even greater.

With an outpouring of support from paddlers, anglers, and local residents, we were successful in securing more permanent protection of Cougar Bay on Coeur d’Alene Lake for wildlife and quiet recreation. Community members and KEA pitched in with Kootenai County Parks and Waterways to better delineate a no-wake zone across the bay while protecting many of the historic pilings for osprey habitat.

KEA and community members rallied – as we always do – to protect Tubbs Hill from unnecessary intrusion, but we also worked cooperatively to create new opportunities for wheelchair access to Coeur d’Alene’s amazing natural amenity. Currently, KEA is working with literally thousands of local residents who want to protect the trees along the dike road and who oppose the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision calling for their removal.

This past summer, community members joined us at KEA in launching the region’s first “floating treatment wetland” in a pond above Hayden Lake in a demonstration pilot project to restore water quality. If our water monitoring shows success, these wetlands may be employed along docks and shorelines to help clean up Lakes and other waters throughout North Idaho.

Beyond traditional conservation and restoration, our volunteer-fueled Community Roots local food program just completed another great growing season. Thousands of pounds of local fresh food from backyard gardeners and local farms were distributed to food assistance facilities throughout Coeur d’Alene through our Local Food Share program. A good portion of the shared food was harvested in the Shared Harvest Community Garden at 10th and Foster, which completed its third successful volunteer summer. And our unique Roots CSA completed another successful year in Dalton Gardens, helping to make community supported agriculture subscriptions available to low-income members of our community.

We point all of this success out to make a broader point. There will always be lakes and waterways to clean up, landscapes and resources to be protected and, unfortunately, people in our community who will be hungry.  In that sense, our work is ongoing and endless. But what makes it most rewarding for us at KEA is our community’s capacity for making things better.  With every year, with every project, and with every challenge, people in North Idaho step up and help out. Ours is a great community. And for this, this Thanksgiving, we give our sincere thanks.

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 The Roots Local Food Share season is officially underway.  The first night of the fourth year of fresh food donation to local food assistance facilities kicked off at Shared Harvest Garden yesterday.

 Since its inception in 2007, Roots volunteers have distributed over 16,500 pounds of donated fresh produce to local food assistance facilities, mainly through environmentally friendly bicycle deliveries.

 KEA intern and Roots super-helper Jordin Jacobs reports that a half-dozen or so volunteers turned out to assist with the opening night. Roots volunteers biked to the downtown farmer’s market for fresh leftovers, sorted food donations, harvested vegetables and helped out in the dedicated Roots plot at the garden.

 According to Jordin, early season donations included “lots of salad greens,” snap peas, strawberries, cherries, kale, and dill. Also, three extremely early tomatoes.  

 The first 2010 mid-week deliveries were made to Mary House, First Presbyterian, Anchor House, Coeur d’Alene Senior Center, the Womens’ Shelter, and the Food Bank.

 Roots currently takes fresh food donations at the Shared Harvest Garden at 10th and Foster in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:00.  Our friends at Davis Donuts on 4th Street will also take donated produce.

If you’d like to donate food, if you’d like more information, and especially if you’d like to volunteer, contact us here in the KEA offices.

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One more Community Roots thing before the official-start-of-summer weekend. Our favorite Local Food Share and Roots CSA worker bee Korrine Kreilkamp reports back to our friends at DOMA Coffee that: “DOMA coffee bean chaff is being utilized at the Shared Harvest Community Garden compost and also at the Roots CSA compost. Sweet!!!!”

Indeed, KEA’s expanding local food operations are acutely aware of the need for quality organic compost to maintain soil fertility to grow food in our region.  By streaming reliable, local organic waste like DOMA’s into our compost, we’re able to provide reliable, organic fertility to our local soils. Meanwhile, DOMA is happy to be not wasting a waste product.

If only we could grow coffee around here. Then we’d really have something.

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Community Roots, a program of Kootenai Environmental Alliance, has completed its third season of collecting surplus produce from local gardeners and farmers markets for delivery to local food assistance facilities.  Beginning with only a handful of people and 3,000 pounds of donations in 2007, the program has now more than tripled its impact. More than 9000 pounds of fresh produce was distributed this season to people in our community who needed it.

Community Roots 2009 Volunteers

Community Roots 2009 Volunteers

This year, Community Roots maintained a garden plot at the Shared Harvest Community Garden on 10th and Foster in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Through the generous efforts of  the KEA and the Garden’s supporters, particularly The Art Spirit Gallery, Community Roots built a garden shed out of re-claimed wood to act as a donation drop-off point and volunteer headquarters at the Shared Harvest Community Garden.  Produce was sorted, weighed, and loaded into bicycle carts and vehicles for delivery at 15 partnered food assistance facilities in the area.

Shared Harvest Garden organizer Kim Normand contributed to the success by fielding volunteer phone calls and by encouraging plot owners at the garden to donate food to the program. Garden volunteers signed up to rotate watering and harvesting days at the Community Roots plot, and Normand’s leadership kept the entire community garden flourishing all season long. 

Meanwhile, Davis Donuts, a great local business, publicized the program’s efforts on their street side sign. More importantly, their twice-weekly fresh food drop-off contributed enormously to Community Roots’ 2009 success. (Seriously, 2520 N 4th St, Coeur d’Alene — visit them and say thanks for us!)

This year also marked the first in a series of food preservation classes put on by the Community Roots Program.  A great success, the class contained both volunteers and people on the receiving end of the produce donations.  Community Roots intends to expand this venture into next year, focusing on education for both gardeners and recipients.  “Educating people on how to best make use of what they grow or what they receive from our program is the real way to make a lasting impact on the community,” declares Korrine Kreilkamp, founder of Community Roots. “We think we have a lot more to offer in that regard, and we hope next year’s success will top this one.”

Community Roots remains a group effort.  Without the aid of over 20 volunteers who regularly donate their evening or weekend, the program could not function successfully.  “This unique kind of ecological and social service has attracted good people,” comments Kreilkamp. “There are a lot of smiles and laughter that go into being a Roots Volunteer.”

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