Ryan, Fernando, and Sarah stand proudly in front of their garden.
Fernando, his wife Raquel, and their two children Ryan and Sarah are participants in the 2016 Backyard Garden Program. Raquel and Fernando are originally from Brazil, and they heard about our program when they volunteered to translate our program application into Portuguese.
When asked about his experience with their garden, Fernando said that “it’s getting the kids to eat healthier and showing them where their food comes from”. His daughter Sarah, when asked what her favorite thing to do in the garden was, said she “likes watering, because it makes the plants grow”.
Fernando said that there isn’t one day where the whole family doesn’t go out to the garden to see what had changed from the day before. Often when Fernando is in the garden his young son Ryan comes to help out. Fernando noted that both Sarah and Ryan “are impressed that they’re growing things they can eat” and laughed when he recalled all the times Sarah would ask, “Dad what is this, can you eat this!?”.
Not only does their immediate family love this garden, but Raquel’s mother, a McPherson Park resident, plants in the BYG managed McPherson Park Community Garden. Often Sarah’s grandmother and her can be found out in the garden watering and harvesting, and Fernando said that the garden is therapeutic for his mother-in-law. As a chef Fernando has loved having the fresh produce and herbs for his cooking, and mentioned that he has had the chance to explain to Sarah and Ryan that sometimes they make salads with multiple types of lettuce. Not only that, but because they have their own garden they have had the opportunity to plant some things from Brazil that they can’t find in stores in the area, and Fernando’s mother-in-law has been able to use that produce in cooking traditional dishes that they missed.
When asked what this garden means to him and his family, Fernando said “it’s another chance for us to do things together, and it’s strengthening our family”.