Get to Know Your Grow2Give Leaders – Land on Lincoln

Nanna Cross  is one of Land on Lincoln’s Grow2Give leaders. Learn more about her and Grow2Give below.

Tell us about yourself–what are your hobbies and interests?
I am a retired dietitian and have worked in the hospital and nursing homes and have also taught at the University level in dietetic education programs. I like to work outside in the garden and tend to my plants (as if they are my children).  Gardening is very meditative.  I enjoy learning about different cultures as well as foods common to different cultures.  I like all kinds of music–jazz, classical, ragtime–and play the piano.

What exactly is the work that you do with Grow2Give?

I volunteer at the G2G plot at Land on Lincoln with Ellen Youniss.  I help plant and I am on the schedule for watering the beds.  Ellen and I usually harvest the produce on Sunday evenings and I make Monday morning deliveries to the Inspiration Kitchen where meals are served to the homeless in Uptown.  I started volunteering in 2011 at the Stars Garden and have continued to volunteer after the garden moved to Land on Lincoln.  As I deliver the fresh produce to the kitchen I often suggest ways the produce can be served or prepared.  The kitchen staff are often clients of the program and have limited experience with different kinds of produce or different ways of preparing the produce.

I decided to begin volunteering at the G2G plot as a way to meet other gardeners and also as a way to contribute to the wider community in providing fresh produce.  I had recently moved and was working only part time so I was interested in volunteering.

Why did you decide to work with Grow2Give?

I enjoy cooking and eating and decided to join the Peterson Garden Project when I moved to a high rise with no space for gardening.  My gardening experience had been with flowers, so when I joined the PGP, I needed to learn how to grow different vegetables.

How has working with a program such as Grow2Give changed you, or made you a better person?
I am so happy to be gardening, I love to spend time outdoors and to learn how to prepare the soil for gardening and learning how to grow a variety of vegetables.  The clients at Inspiration Cafe appreciate fresh produce and the kitchen staff like learning about new ways to prepare foods.  Ellen and I have started growing vegetables that the clients have requested–collard greens and sweet potatoes–although these are vegetables that I don’t grow in my garden.  We have been able to increase the total amount of produce from the garden by planting spinach or lettuce early and then planting another vegetable after the growing season for these has passed.  Providing food for others less fortunate helps me to appreciate what I have in my life.