Growing From the Heart is a grassroots group that encourages participation from anybody who wants to improve their kitchen game. “Then we started finding out that we just really liked to hang out, and so we certainly doing all these different things like forging walks and fermentation workshops. We just had a potluck last week. We just enjoy sharing our knowledge,” Seguin said. “This is really cool because there’s very little money associated with the group in general, and no limiters. Everyone can bring in an idea, whatever they want to do. Somebody said the other day that they wanted to do a homemade jam workshop last month, and then they kind of organized it. We showed up and spent time together,” Seguin explained.
“Instead of focusing only on the food pantries during the pandemic, because we knew that a lot of people wanted food, and needed food during that time, we wanted to promote what was already going on, which was gifting and sharing with our neighbors,” Seguin explained. “We were also reaching out to the food pantries to see if they would accept fresh produce, and then facilitate that, and encourage people like, ‘Hey, I have 60 pounds of zucchini. What do I do with it?’ instead of doing a ding-dong dash and dropping stuff off, which is great, you can drop it off at Little Brothers on the third Monday of the month, in Calumet at the Free Store on Wednesdays. We facilitated those kinds of relationships.” Growing From the Heart began as a mission to donate home grown produce to those in need during the pandemic, The Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton reports.
With the pandemic seemingly winding down, Growing From the Heart took on more of a social aspect. “In 2020, right when the pandemic started, we developed a program that was kind of modeled off the nationwide program called Plant a Row for the Hungry, which encourages people to plant literally an extra row in their garden to donate to food pantries,” Seguin said.
While being helpful to the community and a chance to socialize with fellow foodies, Growing From the Heart is an informational asset. “We’re really looking at trying to improve access to local nutritious food. In addition to that, we need to try to expand education opportunities, so once people are able to purchase really wonderful local food, how can people cook it and preserve it so that they can eat it, share it with their families and things like that, so we’re hoping to be able to offer more outreach education opportunities that we’re able to gather,” Seguin explained. “This kind of skill sharing makes things that seems a little scary like jamming, or foraging for mushrooms way more accessible and doable. There are over 20 kinds of edible mushrooms in Houghton County, and we can share which ones are the good ones with each other,” Koskinen added.
Growing From the Heart teaches that new ways of self-producing food doesn’t have to be scary. “Yeah, it’s usually like a wide range of people, and last month at the fermenting workshop, we had a family come from my Iron River, another family just kind of was wandering around and joined us. It’s really about encouraging these kind of relationships,” Rachel Koskinen, another member, added.
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