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People harvesting produce from a garden.
From left, Yusuf Bin-Rella, co-founder of TradeRoots Culinary Collective and chef at UW–Madison, Ryan Dostal, outreach specialist in the horticulture department, and Reba Luiken, director of Allen Centennial Garden, harvest collard greens in Allen Garden's kitchen garden in July 2022. Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS.

Members of the UW–Madison, Madison and broader community are invited to celebrate Allen Centennial Garden’s abundant and diverse harvest during the garden’s Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 8. The event, which runs from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m., will feature music, dancing, and storytelling, as well as opportunities to learn about farming and harvest traditions from numerous cultures around the world. The festival is free and open to the public.

The event centers around celebrating Allen Garden’s new kitchen garden project, launched in spring 2022, which features three distinct garden types that come from African American, Indigenous, and Hmong cultures. Crops for the kitchen garden project were selected, planted and harvested in consultation with partners from organizations including Groundswell Conservancy, Rooted, Trade Roots, and the Native American Center for Health Professionals.

Allen Centennial Garden’s kitchen garden in July 2022. Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS.

“It’s exciting to see results of all the hard work with community partners thriving in the garden, and we want to share it with everyone at the Harvest Festival,” says Reba Luiken, director of Allen Centennial Garden. “There’s been such an amazing array of crops growing in the kitchen garden  – from celosia to beans to lemongrass – and we encourage everybody to stop by and check it out.”

Attendees of the festival will be treated to performances and presentations by:

  • Jessika Greendeer, farm manager and seed keeper for Dream of Wild Health
  • Hmong Heritage Club of Madison
  • Linmanya Ensemble, West African dance and drum group
  • Red Thread, vocal trio that will perform Eastern European folk music
  • Vidar Skrede, Nordic folk musician
  • Syrena Polish Folk Dance Ensemble

UW–Madison student groups will be on hand during the event to share information about food and garden traditions from numerous cultures, including Hmong and Polish. There will also be a showcase of student research focusing on the importance of harvest festivals to communities across the globe.

For more information, visit https://allencentennialgarden.wisc.edu/harvest-folk-festival/.

Allen Centennial Garden is located at 620 Babcock Drive. Free parking will be available in Lot 34 at 1480 Tripp Circle; in Lot 36 just west of Steenbock Library; and in Lot 40 behind Babcock Hall. The Babcock Dairy Store will be open 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on the day of the festival.

The kitchen garden project and Harvest Festival were funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Support was also provided through a Wisconsin Arts Board grant, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.