Vegetable garden has a lot to offer

Staff writer

A 1½-acre plot along Corduroy Road in Oregon is a classroom as much as it is a vegetable garden.
For 12 years Prakash Thombre and his wife, Kyrmen, have been growing vegetables on their land where they harvest rare varieties of beans, gourds, grains, leafy vegetables and more.
"Food is medicine and if not respected then medicine becomes your food," Prakash said.
Many of the vegetables have Asiatic roots, Prakash says, and are known for their health benefits and even medicinal value,
The karela, or bitter gourd, for example, has an insulin-like compound which has been shown to help control diabetes.
The cultivation and preparation of vegetables has been a passion of Prakash since childhood and he can cite the history of their role in the diets of civilizations of long ago. Roman soldiers carried gram grains in one pouch and garlic in another while on the march.
The Thombres formed a non-profit organization, Educational Uplift of Minority, Inc., to provide an educational opportunity for under privileged children, using their garden as an outdoor classroom.
“Our focus is on education,” Prakash said. “We work to educate students on the growth of healthy foods. The training starts from seed planting to plant nurturing and growth in a non-chemical environment. We harvest and process these products to grow healthy food for the community.”
The training and educating of children to grow food stuffs and prepare them in the kitchen instills a good work ethic and concern for the environment, he reasons.
On Wednesdays during the harvest season, Prakash can be found at a table near the Westgate Farmers Market and on Saturdays he’s often at the Downtown Toledo Farmers Market. Because he doesn’t sell his produce but instead accepts donations he isn’t a registered vendor at the markets.
For information about the Thombre’s charitable organization contact Prakash at


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