SIDNEY — The People’s Garden, a community garden located behind Agape Food Distribution, began in 2014 to provide the community with fresh vegetables. The garden and its outreach have grown in those three years.
The garden began with three raised beds that had been built by volunteers. New beds have been raised in the following years. Last year beds were offered for the community to rent for planting their own gardens.
“We are seeing some interest in people wanting to rent a garden bed and we can do that now. There will be two prices – $10 for pantry shoppers and $20 for all other community members interested in doing their own gardening and might not have a space for that. Any person renting a bed will receive instruction, seeds, plants, tools to use, gloves, fencing…whatever they need and want to work their garden,” said Conelia Dixon, Master Gardener and volunteer garden coordinator.
Dixon, along with Michelle Stephenson, volunteer garden coordinator, and other volunteers hope to offer new opportunities to those who are interested.
“This season, we hope to get the shoppers involved in gardening, planting and tending the vegetables they want to eat, and learning how to prepare the vegetables they will grow. We will work with The OSU Extension twice a month on two Wednesdays to provide demonstrations on food preparation and gardening. We hope to do a few craft classes too, like painting rocks or signs for the garden beds. We hope to include pantry shoppers and other community members in all activities,” said Dixon.
Volunteers are always welcome but are needed for some particular projects this year.
“The program needs extra help with gutters and electrical work on the teaching building,” said Stephenson.
The gutters will allow the rain water to be funneled into a 1500-gallon tank to use in the garden. The building needs electrical wiring as well as flooring that is ready to be installed. In the future solar panels are planned to power the building and pumps for the water. The garden is committed to organic growing practices.
“We hope to keep expanding the community involvement at The People’s Garden. We have had quite a few community groups involved in volunteer help already. Church groups, including youth and adults, school groups, like FFA’s, The Young Ag Professionals, Master Gardeners, S&H Products workers, family members, neighbors, friends, seniors, children. If anyone or any group, wants to hear more about the garden we will gladly come and speak to groups. (The presentation) includes slide show of pictures of the garden and a selection of free seed packets,” said Dixon.
The garden had approximately 900 pounds of produce to give away in the Agape pantry last year. Much credit is due to the volunteers who help make the garden a success.
“Many individuals, businesses and institutions have stepped up to help provide food for hungry people. We depend on God’s timing and provision for all we have now and for all we will receive for The People’s Garden. We are truly blessed beyond belief. Thank you very much to all who have contributed…providing free seeds, plants, a small greenhouse for starting plants, labor for building the tool shed, trellises, and the garden beds, providing soil, mowing, watering, volunteering to work in the garden on the work days we have. This garden grows because of people’s hearts,” said Dixon.
Beginning of the season planting days are scheduled for May 6 and 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. volunteers will be there daily prior to the planting days, and anyone who would like to help is invited to stop by and help.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.