Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Treat for your Sweet is like a Place for your Garden Space

by Sonya Welter
The Duluth Community Garden Program will be holding its 4th annual Truffle Sale Fundraiser this year. Available in delectable chocolate, cherry, or coffee flavors, the truffles are $1.75 each or $6.00 for a box of four. Also available are peppermint patties, which are $1.75 for two, or $6.00 for a box of eight. All candies are handmade by local artisans. On Saturday, February 9, you can find them at the Great Harvest Bread Company in the Plaza Shopping center at 13th Ave. East and Superior St. from noon to 4 p.m., and on Wednesday, February 13, and Thursday, February 14, they will be on the street level of the Fitger's Brewery Complex at 600 E Superior Street from 5-8 p.m.

Last year the Truffle Sale raised nearly $750 for the Community Garden Program. The organization provides garden space and support for individuals, families, and groups throughout Duluth. It strives to foster self-sufficiency and a sense of community, and to make healthy, organic food available to those who might not be able to afford to buy it in the store. "Fifty percent of our gardeners are low income," says executive director Carrie Slater Duffy. "Their gardens make a significant difference in their diets."

The Community Garden Program also offers classes on canning and food preservation, and helps sponsor the Kids Garden Program. There is a permanent garden space behind the Damiano Center, and children from low income or stressed households in the Central Hillside tend the plants, learn about nutrition and healthy food, and even bring home vegetables that they grew themselves to help feed their families.

The Community Garden encourages organic practices and sustainable land use within its garden plots, so it's little surprise that nearly all of the ingredients used for their Truffle Sale Fundraiser are organic. "Organic butter, organic cream, organic half-and-half, organic dark chocolate, organic cocoa powder," says longtime volunteer Jennifer Olker, listing off some of the ingredients of the truffles. "We use as many organic ingredients as we can find." Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and other harmful chemicals; it is healthier for the soil, air and water – not to mention the people who grow and eat the food.

The sugar, coffee, and some of the chocolate is also Fair Trade certified, which ensures that the people growing and harvesting the products are paid a fair price and work in safe, healthy conditions. Fair Trade certification also promotes community development and environmental sustainability.

The Duluth Community Garden Program's Truffle Sale is a delicious way to support several great causes. "Raising funds for the Garden Program through the sale of organic chocolates makes sense to us," says Slater Duffy. "Those who are fortunate enough to have a few bucks in their pocket to spend on chocolates for themselves or their sweethearts are supporting not only organic cocoa farmers, but folks right here in Duluth who rely on their gardens for fresh organic produce."
For more information on the Duluth Community Garden Program or on the Truffle Sale, please see their website, http://www.duluthcommunitygarden.org/, or call 218-722-4583.

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