It’s the small things that make the big things….
Olivewood Gardens empowers students and families from diverse backgrounds to be healthy and active citizens through organic gardening, environmental stewardship and nutrition education. Executive Director, Jen Nation’s programs at Olivewood Gardens have served over 80,000 people and has reduced chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
10 Things About Jen Nation and Olivewood Garden & Learning Center
#1 I grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa and wouldn’t change a thing about my childhood.
#2 When I was 10 years old, I got a job delivering newspapers. It taught me work ethic, accountability, confidence, communication skills and financial management. It even helped pay for an entire year of college.
#3 Two of my favorite restaurants are Cucina Sorella in Kensington and C-Level on Harbor Island for the delicious lobster and fontina sandwich as well as the breathtaking views.
#4 My favorite book is The Art of Racing in the Rain, a heartbreaking yet inspirational story told from a dog’s point of view.
#5 I wanted a dog my entire life. When I bought my first house in Iowa, I immediately went to the shelter and got a black lab mix. I had Lucy for almost 16 years. I’ve had three other rescue dogs, including my newest, Botero, a lab-husky mix.
#6 Several times I rode my bike across the state of Iowa in an annual bike ride called RAGBRAI. After a 12-year hiatus, I plan to ride again this summer with a group of college friends. I hope I can still handle the humidity and heat!
#7 I’ve always been fascinated by Maya Angelou’s storytelling, vulnerability, strength and the way she empowered women.
#8 I was a Girl Scout growing up and learned to spend some of our cookie proceeds for fun activities, some for a future adventure and a portion to do good for others. That philosophy stuck with me.
#9 After waiting a year to get into our 7-week “Cooking for Salud” program, a mother told us that after every session, she tried new recipes with her family. Our program was not only important to her health, as she was pre-diabetic, but also to her son who had high triglyceride levels. At her last doctor’s appointment, she was no longer pre-diabetic and her son’s levels were also normal. By making small adjustments to recipes and having a better understanding of cooking with whole grains, fresh vegetables and using less sugar, her entire health outlook improved.
#10 Event proceeds will ensure that we can continue to provide hands-on garden-based nutrition education, healthy cooking, urban agriculture, and community building programs for students and families.