The Youth Garden Project’s Weed ‘n’ Feed events are set to continue this year, running every other Wednesday from April through mid-October.
The community is invited to come together for the first Weed ‘N’ Feed event of 2019 on Wednesday, April 3.
Volunteers are meeting at the outdoor patio at the Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East. Beginning at 6 p.m., volunteers will pull weeds in the garden and then enjoy a free garden-to-table dinner prepared by volunteer chefs starting at 7:30 p.m.
Dinner on April 3 will be pizza prepared by the staff of the Beacon Afterschool Program.
Limited parking is available at the Youth Garden Project (YGP), with overflow parking available nearby at the high school. Volunteers should arrive dressed for slightly dirty gardening work.
YGP’s Weed ‘n’ Feed has been a relaxing social event for years.
“It’s an opportunity to meet people, to socialize while doing some gardening,” said Moab resident John Mendonca.
Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to bond over the garden work and farm-fresh food.
Abby Meyer, VISTA Community Programs Coordinator, said child care services are offered to parents of young children who would like to volunteer at Weed ‘n’ Feed.
“It’s a really inclusive event for people of all skill and ability levels,” Meyer said.
Volunteers are welcome to bring their own gloves and weeding tools, although there are plenty of extra tools available for those who do not have any and would like to borrow some. Each iteration of the event is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather, with announcements being made via social media.
The volunteer weeding efforts are a great boon to YGP, allowing staff to spend time on other tasks. “We can just knock out a whole bunch of weeding or garden tasks in one day,” Meyer said. “If it were just one or two staff (members), it would take a week.”
About the dinner that happens after the weeding work is completed, Meyer said, “It’s a double benefit that they’re eating the fruits of their labor.”
The provided dinners are made with seasonal ingredients in the garden, often picked that same day. The volunteer chefs cook vegetarian meals, and may provide gluten free and vegan options.
Past dinners have included pesto pastas, tacos, salads and gazpacho. Desserts are occasionally served, with in-season fruits from the YGP orchard a potential ingredient source.
Julie Zender, youth programs director, mentioned the multi-functionality of the volunteer event.
“It’s just such a simple but unique concept of bringing volunteers into the garden, plus volunteers into the kitchen, and then bringing them together at the end to share a meal,” Zender said.
Volunteers are needed not only for weeding at YGP, but also for cooking. YGP has volunteers scheduled for at least the first four dinners, but it is accepting help for events later in the season.
Past volunteer chefs have included interns and staff from many area nonprofits and farms, but other people in the community are welcome to volunteer at YGP.