Garden at Public Health building helps food shelf, backpack program
People from all over the county stop at the St. Croix County Public Health building in New Richmond for a variety of reasons. Since 2015, visitors have also been able to get fresh produce, while in season, from a garden put together by Public Health Supervisor/WIC Director and Master Gardener Sharon Reyzer.
"I am a master gardener, so when I got the idea to have a garden here, I asked the maintenance people to plow a couple sections of dirt out back and started to plant," said Reyzer. "The plot is 8 feet by 5 feet. The first time we planted crops, we got about 200 pounds of produce, then we got 300 and then 421 last year. This year is down a little since we got blight pretty bad, but we still produced just shy of 400 pounds."
Most of the produce goes to local organizations, such as the food shelf and backpack programs.
"We dig up the produce, bag it and then send some to the backpack program and then some to the food shelf," Reyzer said. "When we have extra, we put it out front off the office so people can grab something when they come in. We want to share the wealth and encourage people to like and eat more veggies."
In addition to a garden, the public health building also played host to a farmers market in its parking lot throughout the summer.
"We've also held a farmers market every Wednesday, which is mostly just giving a space in the parking lot for local farmers to come and sell their wares," Reyzer said. "We encourage our staff and our clients to check out the market. The farmers — about three or so regulars — felt like they got more traffic this year than they have in the past."