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orthern Garden of Life was founded in 2009 by the late George Vernon.  The Garden, as it is called by employees and friends, is a roughly rectangular shaped smorgasbord of fruits and vegetables which are grown and harvested each year for the benefit of the surrounding community. A large portion of the proceeds from the sale of vegetables is donated to the local food bank, The Brick. George always had it in his heart to help people, and with his enormous passion and dedication to gardening and the local community, The Garden became an extension of his personality and vision to continue to serve Christ, even in the latter years of his life.  George always made sure that rows were impeccably picked clean of weeds, and that waste was kept to a minimum.  His booming bass voice could always be heard rumbling across the fields as he encouraged his crew to work hard and stay strong in their faith.

George

George at the Garden one early summer morniing

“We just have to help people.” –George Vernon, August 2013

His grandchildren and wife Louise have continued to help keep the vision alive, and can be seen alongside the field workers bringing in the harvest and ensuring each season’s success.

While much of the harvest is done much the same way as it would have been 100 years ago, the growing practices are a hybrid of the organic and sustainable movements, coupled with good old fashioned science and a blend of sweat and dirt.  Very little is wasted, and plants are fed exactly what they need, depending on their life cycle and production goals. The Garden remains free of GMO seeds. A gas powered  old Farmall Cub is still utilized, along with a custom made beast-mode wheel hoe to handle a big chunk of the weeding.  The steel seat leans slightly to the right, and the paint once bright red now faded, but it reliably fires up each spring.

George doing devotions with the crew

George doing devotions with the crew

Depending on the harshness of the usually late Northern Wisconsin winters, planting season may begin as early as May 20th, with harvest beginning around the end of July. It’s pretty crazy once things get rolling, but old man winter can show up any time from September to November, and it’s different every year.