The community garden movement seems to be alive and well in our area, with nine gardens by current count.
According to the American Community Garden Association, community gardens are most often hosted by schools, churches, public or senior housing, neighborhoods, nonprofits or therapeutic providers. Whether gardeners are growing for fun or for food, the gardens often become an important social hub or sometimes even a lifeline.
Our largest and longest-running community garden is hosted by City of Columbus Community Development, with 138 plots — all full. It began in 1982. The newest community gardens are just getting started this year in Hope. Hauser Jr.-Sr. High School senior Sarah Craig has begun the Hope FFA Community Garden. Also, Seeds of Hope is developing a community and demonstration garden on the town square.
Community gardens often grow and develop by fits and starts as volunteers or benefactors come and go, and the core group figures out what works for the neighborhood and for the gardeners. Projects such as these are a terrific way to build community, offering opportunities for neighbors to work toward a common goal, whether they are actual neighbors or just garden plot neighbors. Sharing tips, triumphs, failures and produce all come with the territory.
It makes sense to celebrate and learn from these shared gardens. Purdue Extension is offering “Community Garden Walkabouts” through the growing season. On each of the scheduled dates, I’ll invite folks to join me and a Master Gardener volunteer as we have a look around.
Join us at 5:30 p.m. on any of these days. Bring your gardening questions and dress for the weather as only thunderstorms cancel. Call us at 379-1665 with any questions about the dates, times, or locations. Here is the upcoming schedule:
May 27: Garden City Church of Christ, 3245 Jonesville Road (near the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds). Spanish translation to be provided.
June 19: Reformed Presbyterian at 550 N. National Road, Columbus.
June 24: Heritage Seeds of Hope on the Square (north side).
July 17: Faith Ministries, 5103 W. State Road 46, Columbus.
July 22: Heritage Woods Apartments, 799 McClure Road, Columbus.
Aug. 28: Foundation for Youth 405 Hope Ave., Columbus.
Sept. 25: Fourth Street Garden, Fourth and Pearl streets, northwest corner, Columbus.
We hope the future will be bright for those who wish to grow some of their own produce, whether or not they already know how. Join me in supporting these efforts. See you in the garden!
Kris Medic is Bartholomew County’s Purdue Extension educator for agriculture, natural resources, and economic and community development. She can be reached by calling 812-379-1665 or sending an email to email@example.com.