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Demonstration Garden Tours Begin Tomorrow Near Harlem


September 8, 2021

The USDA Extension Program at Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC) will be hosting two Demonstration Garden Tours on Thursday, September 9. Both morning and afternoon tours will begin at the greenhouse on the college campus southeast of Harlem.

The first tour is scheduled for 9:00 in the morning and will extend to approximately 12:30 p.m. The afternoon tour will start at 1:00 and continue until 4:00. USDA Extension Program Director, Manny Morales invites everyone to come join the crew outside for a day full of fun, healthy vegetables, medicinal plants, gardening and nutritional facts.

According to Morales, minus those years missed because of the corona virus pandemic, these tours have taken place every year since 1998 when Will Gray was the Extension Director. In the past, the Garden Tours have been attended by children as young as those enrolled in Head Start as well as by tribal Elders.

Morales tells his interns, who have worked hard all summer in the garden: "These tours showcase the fruits of our labor, and the communities enjoy the produce, and we enjoy them enjoying it."

This year's Garden Tours will begin at the ANC Greenhouse where raised beds contain herbs and medicinal plants. Here, Cheryl Morales, Teacher Training Project Coordinator, will talk about teas and various other ways the plants can be used to provide healing benefits.

From there, on their way to the Tree Nursery, those on tour will see the two bee colonies before walking down to the Demonstration Garden. "We walk from plot to plot as the participants receive information on gardening techniques and on the nutritional values of the vegetables. Val Ricker, a Nutritionist from Indian Health Services, also gives them information about the health benefits of eating fresh vegetables. They get to pick some vegetables to take home and cook with recipes which they have in a folder given to them at the beginning of the tours and which contain nutritional and gardening information," Morales explained.

Following the tours, a Healthy Taste Meal will be served and door prizes will be awarded once surveys with suggestions for next year's tours have been completed. Using vegetables that are grown in the garden, these meals are prepared to maximize nutritional value.

The meal is made possible through assistance from the Diabetes Prevention Program.

During the meal, Hillary Maxwell and Liz Werk, Fort Belknap Reservation Extension Agents, will present details about their current programming-which includes canning workshops, food preservation guidance, and collecting and saving seeds for next year's gardens.

"Our main intention with the meal is for people to taste the difference when a meal is prepared with fresh vegetables," Morales stated.

Anyone planning to join the tour is reminded to wear a mask and to be mindful of social distancing requirements. Screeners will also be available for anyone wishing to have their blood screened for diabetes.

Later this fall, Morales hopes to have a Corn Maze for the young children, after which they will get to take home a pumpkin. "And of course, we'll have the We Dig, You Pick potato harvest event," he said


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