Poway’s Backyard Produce Project already had reason to be proud of its success. Collecting thousands of pounds of fruit and other produce from Poway backyards, the Project distributed it to local families in need. Now, more than a year after starting its own garden, it has even more to boast about.

“We planted our first crop in June 2010,” said coordinator Jane Radatz. That summer, the garden produced over 500 pounds of fresh vegetables and nearly 200 pounds that winter.

Then Janice Schock showed up. “Janice joined the garden team in February,” said Radatz. “It was soon clear that she brought amazing experience and know-how to the garden.” As someone with little gardening experience herself, Radatz was delighted to welcome Schock to the team, a bona fide green thumb. Before long, Radatz asked Schock to serve as head gardener. “The garden has benefitted ever since,” said Radatz. This summer, the garden yielded over 2,100 pounds of produce – more than four times their 2010 yield.

“Supplying fresh produce to families in need is very rewarding,” said Schock. She and about 25 other volunteers tend the garden. The vegetables grown are then distributed to local families. This fall, with the help of the Friends and Family Community Connection, the team sent school children home with a bag of fresh vegetables in addition to a bag of school supplies.

Schock grew up along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and loves spending time in nature. That’s part of the reason Poway appealed to Schock and her family when they moved there nearly 20 years ago. Now she is sharing the fruits of her labor with other Poway families.

The Backyard Produce Garden is part of the Backyard Produce Project, started in 2009 by the Palomar Pomerado Health Community Action Council. The garden was made possible with the help of the Sunshine Care Assisted Living community in Poway who made a plot of land on their property available for Radatz and her team to use. Schock has helped turn it into another great resource of fresh food for the community.

But more than anything, Schock enjoys the time she spends in the garden. “Sharing the awe of nature with the other volunteers brings me the most pleasure,” said Schock. “We are usually working between 8 to 9 in the morning, so it can be very magical.”

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Name:    Janice Schock
Age:  63
Community Residence:  Poway
Volunteer Affiliation: Backyard Produce Garden
Family Information: Married, 2 grown sons
Occupation Information:  Self-employed, retired

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Name of Group:      Backyard Produce Garden
Group’s Purpose:  Growing produce for families in need
Team Leader Names:  Lori Shein, Sandra Strong, Lin Siepert, Ruthanna Bryan, Teresa Chartz, Annette Tanenbaum, Diane Foote, Bruce McCoy
Group Contact Information:  Organizer Jane Radatz: jradatz@att.net  http://volunteer-garden.wikispaces.com/

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