Big Garden program continues to grow

September 13th, 2014 by Live Well Omaha Kids

The Big Garden, a program of the United Methodist Ministries, is a network of over 100 community gardens in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. They partner with community organizations of all types, including schools, churches and non-profits – facilitating community development and cultivating food security through the act of gardening.

IMG_0033_webWith over 48 gardens in the Omaha metro area, the Big Garden program teaches anyone aged 2 to 102, the basics of growing their own food, cooking with it and preserving it. Once a garden is built, they run regular weekly programming through the growing season for three consecutive years.  This summer the program reached over 200 youth and adults each week.

In the past year, Big Gardens had the opportunity to offer programming to the youth at Completely Kids, a program that ensures that our families have access to the knowledge and skills necessary to break the cycle of poverty. The programming got kids out into the garden space and got them active. It’s really important to get the kids active by giving them hands-on opportunities for experience-based learning. They’re not only pulling weeds, hauling water and turning compost – they’re also playing games and harvesting produce for cooking demonstrations. The program puts a huge emphasis on healthy eating by harvesting right from the garden and cooking healthy recipes. Kids cook using garden produce, then take the recipes home to share with their families. While kids are learning about nutrition and portion control, the main focus is on giving kids a chance to experience the planting, growing, harvesting, then cooking instead of looking at charts, graphs and food pyramids.

IMG_0084_web“This is the healthiest, most tasty thing I’ve ever eaten!” exclaimed one youth gardener during the week that the children made veggie quesadillas and watermelon salad with produce from the garden.

“Seeing children not only learn, but get excited about what they are doing is incredibly rewarding,” said Matt Freeman, program director.

Next year, with a partnership with Live Well Omaha Kids, The Big Garden will expand and build five new gardens at childcare centers throughout the city.

To get involved by volunteering, to support The Big Garden with a donation or for more information about the program, visit or

* * *

Groups and individuals of all ages are invited to join together – See more at:
Groups and individuals of all ages are invited to join together – See more at:

Groups and individuals of all ages are invited to join together for a day of service to highlight the role that we can all play in creating more just food systems.

Harvest for Hunger Day of Service
Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 9am – 4pm
Hanscom Park UMC at 4444 Frances Street in Omaha
The cost to participate is $15 which includes lunch, transportation to and from service sites, and commemorative t-shirt
Pre-registration is required . Registration deadline is September 22nd.
More information




No Comments »

Leave a Reply

More Posts: