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Diane Small retains a smaller green tomato that is a detail of natural beauty, just all set for slicing, dipping in batter and frying up for a delectable lunch.

But fairly than having that tomato from her personal yard back garden herself, she designs to give it away — and is pleased to supply the recipe, way too.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Modest has turned her massive, sunny yard in the Waunona community into a neighborhood yard, exactly where she and a legion of volunteers, lots of of them students from UW-Madison, till, plant, weed and harvest foodstuff for neighbors and close by food stuff pantries.

“I’ve now provided away 40 luggage of collards this 12 months,” reported Tiny, who named her 40-by-40 foot area “Mamie’s Backyard Back garden,” in honor of her late mom, Mamie.

The two used to backyard garden with each other in the garden after moving to Madison from South Carolina, where Small’s youth was filled with backyard chores and property-cooked dinners fresh new from the garden. But more than the many years, Little had moved on to other factors, and the yard went quiet. 

In 2020, mate and fellow gardener Jill Lundberg labored along with Compact to protected a SEED Grant from the metropolis of Madison, which furnished $1,500 to deal with a massive component of the yard with natural soil and to plant collards, tomatoes, eco-friendly beans, zucchini, squash and additional for the neighborhood community. This year’s assignments have included expanding the amount of crops and introducing fencing to ward off ravenous neighborhood rabbits.

“Anything in this backyard is no cost,” said Tiny, who presents credit history to the lots of volunteers and donors who have helped her, and who are acknowledged on her garden web site, mamiesbackyardgarden.org. Small’s church group from the S.S. Morris Local community African Methodist Episcopal Church — also beloved by her mother — has been a big guidance, also, she said. 

“We have been praying in excess of this food stuff and chatting in excess of this foods,” explained Small. “It truly is a lot of get the job done, but it really is going to feed a ton of people today.”