From garden to fork: Gardens on Spring Creek cooking classes

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The outdoor kitchen overlooks the garden of Eatin’,  where rows and rows of fresh produce grow under the Fort Collins sun.


The Fort Collins city organization Gardens on Spring Creek offers cooking classes Thursday nights at 6 p.m. The majority of products come directly from the garden that the outdoor kitchen overlooks.

“It’s a living classroom,” said Mary Miller, community gardener and outreach coordinator in charge of the Eatin’ Garden. “We show people how they can utilize the seed to the table and make that an experience.”

The garden, located on Center Street just off the Spring Creek trail, was founded in 2009. It was designed as an establishment  for community members to enjoy and learn from.

According to Miller, the gardens offer many programs, including children’s activities, adult cooking classes and wedding rentals.

The majority of the garden’s food goes toward the Larimer County Food Bank. Last year alone, the city gardens provided over 6,000 pounds of fresh produce.

Cooking classes feature several recipes and hands-on experience. Chefs from the area share their knowledge and teach small classes how to make the dishes.

“Green super foods are often overlooked, and there is so much we can do with them,” said Virginia Clark, a dietician at UC Health.

Clark graduated from Colorado State University, earning a masters degree in dietetics.

Clark led the class Thursday evening. The class made a variation of pesto using walnuts and chard, a collard greens and white bean dish, an Asian noodle dish and powerhouse greens smoothies.

“Greens offer a variety of benefits, from vitamin K, iron and lots of fiber,” Clark said.


The masters program offers students the option to do an internship in community health. Currently, CSU graduate student Renae Addington works with Clark as an intern.

“A main reason people choose this major is because we are foodies and love to cook,” Addington said. “This is fun – teaching people about how to use great food.”

Each class has a different theme. Last Thursday was Powerhouse Greens but upcoming classes include:

August 7: Grilled Pizza

August 14: Pesto, Tapenade, & Summer Salsa

August 21: Fresh and Savory Italian

August 28: Eat the Rainbow

September 4: Totally Tomatoes

September 11: Mild to Wild Chiles

September 18: Hearty Soups

Each class is fully interactive and virtually a three course meal. A flat rate of $25 for the class goes to supporting the gardens and enhancing personal knowledge on organic cooking.

Collegian Senior Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at