A new season for community harvesting continues at Tucson Village Farm.

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – Many families are stretching the budget to feed their children quality food.
Some parents may struggle to balance their desire and pressure to get their children to eat nutritious fruits and vegetables.

KGUN 9 On Your Side recently visited Tucson’s Village Farm to see what guests will find when their staff restarts their ‘U-Pick’ community harvest event.

Some people shared how they were grateful that this community resource was still accessible and open.

“I didn’t know this was at the end of Roger Road,” Gregory Eddings said. “We had a little trouble finding him, but I’ll tell you it’s worth it.”

Between the rows of cabbage and Swiss chard, Eddys took a moment to enjoy nature with his son, grandchildren and family. Here, in a way, the family tree was touching the soil in search of the right ingredients to cook a wonderful meal.

“We picked up some broccoli, what was left of it. We were sampling all the different arugula … some spinach,” he said. We’ve got some great guidance today.

It’s the kind of knowledge that blossomed during the 12 camps and summers Lily McGrath came to Tucson Village Farm. “I’m trying to get more involved on the farm and do more community service,” she said.

“I’ve known Lily since she was eight years old,” said Jess Luz, farm crew leader. “She’s 18 now, but there are so many Lily here.”

While the working urban farm is open, the farm’s directors are focused on showing what it takes to grow and harvest the land, Luz said. Ambassadors like McGrath, who find a second family at the ranch, also make unforgettable memories like planned hikes into the Grand Canyon.

“We start training for him in January,” McGrath said. “It’s a great bonding experience, and it’s something that only the farm allows you to do. It makes it accessible and it’s amazing.”

In this chapter of the farm’s history, Luce, the farm’s outreach director and coordinator, says she’s thankful her team began teaching families how to cook their own produce at the grant-funded cooking center.

“This was a dream come true after 10 years of on-farm programming,” Luz said. “Now we can actually apply the nutrition lessons and teach them how to prepare food.”

The farm operates as a program with the University of Arizona and Pima County Cooperative Extension. While people will be selling by the pound each Tuesday this season, TVF staff said they rely on donations and grants to plant roots in the community.

Jose Zozaia He is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Before coming to Southern Arizona, Jose worked in Omaha, Nebraska, reporting on local, state and federal elections, toxic chemical spills and community programs impacting immigrant families. Share your story ideas and important issues with Jose by emailing him. jose.zozaya@kgun9.com Or through Facebook, Instagram and contact Twitter.

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