Montana State University

Harvest continues through September at MSU garden

September 5, 2008 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

Workers harvest vegetables in the Towne's Harvest Garden at MSU. (MSU file photo by Kelly Gorham).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN -- Hail pummeled the melons and flea beetles attacked the broccoli, but a Montana State University garden that produces at least 25 kinds of vegetables is yielding plenty of produce for the community, says Seth Friedman, coordinator of Towne's Harvest Garden in Bozeman.

A festival, in fact, was held Saturday, Sept. 6, to celebrate and recruit more interest in the garden, which is on university property west of South 19th Avenue and south of Garfield Street, Friedman said. The Fall Harvest Party was also a fundraiser.

MSU students and other community members are invited to work in the garden as volunteers, Friedman said. Volunteers through September will pick, wash and prepare vegetables for distribution. They can work any time between 8 a.m. and noon Monday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Friday. Volunteers, starting in March, will plant seedlings in the green house. They will generally move the plants outdoors in early May. Summer volunteers will harvest the vegetables.

The produce is distributed twice a week through September to people who buy shares or once a week to those who qualify to receive food from the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Friedman said. Vegetables are also sold at the Farmer's Market that runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Bozeman's Bogert Park.

The final distribution day of the season will be Friday, Sept. 26, Friedman said. The garden will then be plowed under for the winter and planted with Austrian winter peas.

Jennifer Stark, an MSU graduate student who helped found the garden, said the MSU club Friends of Local Foods started the garden "to raise awareness on campus of sustainability and local foods, where food comes from." The garden, now in its second season, has about 60 shareholders. Each one pays $425, which gives them fresh vegetables for 14 weeks, hires student interns and covers other expenses.

"I thought it was a great idea," Stark said. "I liked the practical aspect of it, so I got involved."

Chelsea Murphy, program director for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, said the garden makes it possible for the Food Bank to offer a wide variety of fresh vegetables on a regular basis. Because of it, the Food Bank can give its clients everything from carrots and peas to rutabagas, peppers and kale.

Despite the hail, she said, "What we have gotten has been great. The last two weeks have been very substantial. It has been really nice for our clients to have access to those fresh, locally-grown foods."

Friedman said the garden is run jointly by faculty and staff in the College of Agriculture and the College of Education, Health and Human Development. Anyone who wants to volunteer should send an e-mail to or call marketing and outreach coordinator Charlie Preston-Townsend at (970) 846-4251.

For more about Towne's Harvest Garden, read Seeds of Change in the spring 2008 issue of Mountains and Minds.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or