Community Gardens

July 15, 2009 —

Wouldn’t it be great to grow your own food in your apartment? Seems like I got stung by the gardening bee and have been adding to my balcony garden of goodies. I remember learning about New York’s urban gardening where a plot of dirt is hard to come by so folks use the rooftop of their buildings to grow food.

At my place, I have been nursing a basil plant from seeds that were handed out at a bachelorette party I went to. I didn’t think very much of it until one day I saw leaves, edible leaves! (I’ve never planting anything that survived so this was a proud accomplishment for a city girl like myself.) Now I’m hooked and am currently working on growing jalapenos (see picture with my recipe for using them) and cilantro. With my neighbor’s tomatoes we can have freshly made bruchetta or salsa and the taste doesn’t compare to bottle stuff at the store.

In Des Moines, if you want to plant but do not have a place of your own, you can use local community gardens to plant. Best of all, it’s free. Take a look at downtown’s community garden. You can also volunteer at a community garden to help grow food for residents of low income housing. What a neat way to give back to the community!


Tea Nguyen is a dual degree D.P.M./M.P.H. student at DMU. She was born in Utah but raised in California and left the great state to be at one of the best podiatry school in the country.

She has aspirations in international medical service trips and hopes to hit several continents during this lifetime. Traveling is also on the top of her to-do list and she often reminisces about her prior travels to Italy, France and Greece. She also enjoys eating adventures with her boyfriend Paul and is a major food-snacker. It is not uncommon to find her lapsed in a food coma in the middle of her studies.