FARGO — When you come upon one of the eight Growing Together Community Gardens in Fargo, it is easy to see why this has turned into such a center of friendship among the potatoes, peppers, and eggplants.

It’s the 15th year for Jack Wood — who helped start the gardens as a way to welcome New Americans to Fargo-Moorhead.

“I have only been retired for two years and it would be easy to go somewhere warm and be at the lakes, but this is a passion of mine and it has been great working with people who love gardening,” Wood said.

Volunteers make the operation hum, as do the recipients who are required to plant and take care of the gardens all summer long.

Whether they are from Bhutan or Fargo, it has become a melting pot of garden goodness.

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“We are all here for different reasons, but it is about community and getting to know each other too,” said garden volunteer Joan Bishoff.

“The reason I joined the gardens is I wanted to learn about different types of agriculture and different cultures coming together, and how they cook and that type of thing,” said volunteer Mary Ann Phillips.

The harvest is huge, and families who take the veggies home sometimes share with homeless shelters.

“(O)ne of our volunteers invites people over and teaches them how to can and preserve food, because these gardeners today will be bringing home 20 pounds of food,” Wood said. “Which is a lot of veggies, so they will need to preserve the food to last the winter.”

That is why Paris-based, RCA-TV selected Jack as its Magic Hero recipient. A film crew is following him and the Growing Together Community Gardens, putting Fargo-Moorhead on the map, where the harvest means gathering veggies, and promoting the beauty of one community.

Woods says the money received from the RCA award will be used to start yet another Growing Together Community garden in Fargo.

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