Weed 'N' Feed

Attendees of the first Weed ‘N’ Feed of 2020 pulled weeds while keeping a social distance or wearing masks. Pictured, from left to right, are Jason Montoya, Jeremy Lynch, Chris Segovia, Abby Meyer, and Gabriel Woytek. The next Weed ‘N’ Feed will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, at the Youth Garden Project (350 S. 400 East). [Photo courtesy of the Youth Garden Project]

For years, the Youth Garden Project (350 S. 400 East) has hosted Weed ‘N’ Feed volunteer events during the warmer months, and 2020 is no exception – though there will be a few changes to protect attendees’ health during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Weed ‘N’ Feeds are open to all members of the public, who are invited to come pull weeds for 90 minutes and then enjoy a meal made with YGP fruits and veggies by volunteer chefs.

The first Weed ‘N’ Feed was on Wednesday, June 24, and the next one is on Wednesday, July 8. The events will continue on Wednesdays bi-weekly through Oct. 14 and start at 6 p.m. at the garden.

YGP Outreach and Development Coordinator Emily Roberson said the first Weed ‘N’ Feed of 2020 was a success.

“The meal was excellent. The farm crew made stone soup, slaw and peach cobbler with peaches from last season,” she said. “It was so delicious.”

She added, “We’re really excited to be bringing back some normalcy to our community programs.”

Roberson said Weed ‘N’ Feeds further the organization’s mission to grow food, kids and community.

“It’s a community event where people can gather, perhaps meet new people, and engage in service with each other,” she said.

And, Roberson added, “weeding is really important for the garden space.”

Since the YGP uses only organic practices and no herbicides on its 1.5-acre garden, “the weeds can get out of hand,” she said.

This year, the YGP is requiring attendees to bring masks and wear them when in proximity to others, and encouraging social distancing. Those who would like to use work gloves must bring their own as well, though gloves are not required for weed-pulling volunteers. The volunteer chefs, however, will wear both masks and gloves while preparing the food, and meals will not be self-serve but instead doled out in a way that minimizes the number of people touching utensils and other surfaces, and everything will be sanitized afterward.

Participation in the Weed ‘N’ Feeds will be capped at 30 persons on a first-come basis, but Roberson doesn’t expect this to be much of an issue since there are usually less than 30 people at any event. (She reported that the first Weed ‘N’ Feed of the season saw 17 volunteers attend, in addition to four YGP staff members).

Weed ‘N’ Feeds are open to families and, Roberson said, it’s ok if caregivers don’t pull as many weeds because they are also minding little ones. She said the YGP staff is discussing how to make the events more family-friendly, which may include putting together a kids’ activity and having a staff member on hand to supervise children.

Children are required to wear masks to Weed ‘N’ Feeds; those who are too young to do so must be kept with family groups, socially distancing from others.

Roberson said there will be a YGP staff member on hand to make sure health safety measures are being followed, and attendees can bring any concerns that arise during the event to this person.

Roberson said that there are other ways, such as individual volunteer work, to “plug in” to YGP for those who may prefer to avoid group events, or who are unable to attend the Weed ‘N’ Feeds. The YGP may be contacted at 435-259-BEAN; Roberson may be reached by email at emily@youthgardenproject.org.