Diane Smaller retains a tiny green tomato that is a matter of natural beauty, just ready for slicing, dipping in batter and frying up for a delectable lunch.
But fairly than eating that tomato from her individual yard yard herself, she plans to give it away — and is happy to supply the recipe, far too.
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Small has turned her significant, sunny yard in the Waunona community into a neighborhood yard, the place she and a legion of volunteers, numerous of them college students from UW-Madison, till, plant, weed and harvest foods for neighbors and close by food pantries.
“I have presently supplied away 40 bags of collards this calendar year,” mentioned Modest, who named her 40-by-40 foot area “Mamie’s Backyard Yard,” in honor of her late mother, Mamie.
The two utilized to garden collectively in the lawn immediately after moving to Madison from South Carolina, in which Small’s youth was loaded with backyard chores and household-cooked dinners fresh new from the back garden. But around the a long time, Little had moved on to other points, and the backyard garden went tranquil.
In 2020, pal and fellow gardener Jill Lundberg labored along with Little to protected a SEED Grant from the city of Madison, which delivered $1,500 to protect a massive aspect of the yard with natural soil and to plant collards, tomatoes, environmentally friendly beans, zucchini, squash and much more for the neighborhood community. This year’s projects have bundled growing the range of vegetation and incorporating fencing to ward off ravenous neighborhood rabbits.
“Every little thing in this back garden is cost-free,” stated Little, who offers credit to the several volunteers and donors who have assisted her, and who are acknowledged on her backyard garden web site, mamiesbackyardgarden.org. Small’s church group from the S.S. Morris Community African Methodist Episcopal Church — also beloved by her mom — has been a substantial guidance, way too, she mentioned.
“We’ve been praying above this food items and speaking over this meals,” said Little. “It is really a good deal of perform, but it is really likely to feed a large amount of people.”