A group of people standing behind a table with plants and gardening supplies on it. One person has the words "Let's Grow Together" on the back of her shirt
A member of the Marilyn Magaram Center’s staff leading a workshop in the Wellness Garden. Photo taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Lee Choo

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are turning to home gardening to keep up a steady food supply while living on a tighter budget. Since not everyone has access to a large yard for their planting, California State University, Northridge’s Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics has released a series of videos on how to start a garden at home, in any setting.

“This could be indoors or outdoors, with a little bit of space or a lot of space. We’re just trying to teach everyone in the community how to garden, and doing it in the comfort of their own home,” said Kelly Rodriguez, coordinator of the Magaram Center’s Let’s Grow Healthy program, which educates children and adults on using gardening to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Rodriguez said the videos will cover gardening in all four seasons, as well as soil types and how to make soil rich in nutrients. First time growers should keep an open mind, and “don’t be scared to fail,” she said. “If you [fail], you’re going to learn how to do it a different way and how to do it more effectively.”

Crops discussed in the series will include potatoes, eggplants, peppers and cruciferous plants such as cauliflower and broccoli.

The video series is free and open to the public and will be posted each Tuesday to the Magaram Center’s website, as well as YouTube, Instagram (@magaramcenter) and Facebook. The first video in the series, “Gardening At Home: How To Harvest Seeds From Store Bought Produce,” was posted on Sept. 22, 2020. CSUN’s Institute for Sustainability released a similar series in April for Earth Month.

Since 2016, the Let’s Grow Healthy program has been offering education focused on enhancing gardening, nutrition and sustainability efforts. The Magaram Center Wellness Garden on campus serves as a demonstration garden for CSUN students to learn more about organic urban gardening; soil and compost; and seasonal planting and how to plant and use herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Despite the pandemic and recent wildfires, Wellness Garden staff Frida Endinjok, Andreas George and Briana Caban have continued to take care of the garden and donate fresh produce to the CSUN Food Pantry.

“We are excited to continue all our center programs virtually, including our wellness workshops, trainings, internships and our nutrition counseling through telehealth,” said Annette Besnilian, executive director of the Magaram Center. “Our staff and students have worked diligently to develop and produce virtual trainings and videos.”

The Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics strives to promote and increase health and well-being, educating and researching food science, nutrition and dietetics. The center is part of CSUN’s College of Health and Human Development.

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