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Mary Bulwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Planting seeds and learning about fresh fruits and vegetables were just a few of the activities at the Nutrition in the Garden Party, held last week in Fortuna.

More than 200 students from four Fortuna schools, as well as St. Joseph Food Pantry clients, staff, and volunteers attended the event, held at the Fortuna Community Garden Project, just off Newburg Road.

Students from Fortuna Head Start, South Fortuna Elementary School, Eel River Community School, and the Fortuna Junior Academy also got to choose a pumpkin from the garden and take it home.

The pumpkin patch was planted by a group from the Eel River Community School. Redwood Capital Bank and the local Knights of Columbus group also partnered with the project.

”Both entities made donations to ensure the success of the project at a critical time,” said Steve Palecki, Fortuna Garden Project Coordinator, referring to covering the cost of installing a drip irrigation system and paying the water bill.

”Pumpkins need lots of water,” he said, “and the generous donations made the pumpkin patch a great success.”

Other activities at the garden party included fun physical activity ideas, healthy snack tasting featuring fresh picked produce, a bike blender, and a “rethink your drink” booth. The bike blender was powered by Head Start volunteers, who demonstrated how smoothies could be made using “pedal power.


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The rethink your drink booth included information on how much sugar is included in sodas, and also featured flavored waters for tasting, made with freshly pickled ingredients from the Fortuna garden.

The event was sponsored by the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services, Food For People, the Fortuna Community Garden Project, and the St. Joseph Food Pantry.

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Fortuna Head Start Teacher Mark Murray demonstrates how “pedal power” can be used to power a blender for making smoothies at the Nutrition in the Garden Party on Sept. 25.