Sunday, September 25, 2016

Community Garden Wins Blue!


And Red and White too:

Growing Together Community Gardens entered fruits and vegetables in the Pacific County Fair this year.  Seven entries were made and all seven won ribbons!  Blue ribbon winners included Aronia berries, which were covered in the article about the garden last month.  Green Broccoli, rhubarb, sea berries (another rare and very nutritious berry), and flying saucer summer squash also won blue ribbons.   In addition, golden broccoli won a red ribbon and elderberries won a white ribbon.  Hurrah!

Growing Together Community Gardens is the only community garden in the Raymond / South Bend (WA) area.  It is located on the corner of Water and Adams streets in South Bend, Washington, in the back yard of Legacy Community Outreach Food Bank, and cater-corner across the street from The First Lutheran Church of South Bend.  The First Lutheran Church (FLC) is the sponsor of the community garden.

The garden’s vision is unique.  It incorporates three different ideas, each found on their own in various community gardens across the nation and around the world.  First, rental beds are available to individuals and families, who make their own choices about what to grow for their own households.  While most people grow vegetables in their bed(s), some people just want a spot to putter and grow flowers.  Everyone who rents a bed becomes a member of the garden, and also helps with the up-keep of the garden as a whole. 

Second, there are designated ‘community’ areas in the garden.  Featured in the community areas are ten different kinds of berries, rhubarb, apples, herbs, garlic, and potatoes.  The berries and rhubarb for which we won ribbons were grown in the garden’s community areas.  ‘Community’ produce is shared among members.  Any surplus is donated to Legacy Community Outreach Food Bank.   The garden’s rhubarb is also a delicious part of FLC’s Fruit Crisp Fundraiser.  The fundraiser was held this year, on Sunday September 4th, at the church, from 11:30 – 2:30.  Other fruit crisp varieties, besides rhubarb, were available and one could purchase a slice or a whole crisp.  All funds raised stay in the local community and support a variety of worthwhile causes.
Third, is the garden’s ‘food bank bed.’  Garden members also help care for this part of the garden, and all the produce is donated to Legacy Community Outreach Food Bank.  Last year, the garden was able to donate over 500 pounds of fresh organic produce.  The green and golden broccoli and the flying saucer summer squash mentioned above came from this bed.  In addition, this year, there are fresh herbs and plenty of cucumbers growing here.  

It’s a lovely model for a community garden.  Provision is made for the food bank, for sharing and creating community, and for individuals to grow what they would most like in plots of their own.  In fact, two of our members entered items from their plots and won ribbons at the fair!   Andy Carlson won a blue ribbon for his Scarletbor Kale.  Shelia Rickers won five blue ribbons; one each for a pumpkin and a zucchini, and three for flowers. 

There is one sad note about the garden’s fair entries this year.  Due to some confusion, they were all erroneously entered under a single person’s name.  That’s why you don’t remember seeing any entries from the community garden.  A better job will be done next year.  


If you would like to visit the garden, we are open Tuesdays between 4:15 PM and 6:00 PM and Saturdays from 10:30 AM until at least 11:30 AM.   While there are no beds available at this time, there is a short waiting list for prospective new members.  Volunteers are also always welcome.  We often have fresh herbs to share with volunteers, as well as tips on how to use them and preserve them.   For more information please contact the coordinator, Harvest McCampbell, (360) 934-5792 or (707) 834-2985.


Published in the Willapa Harbor Herald on  8.31.16, reprinted here with permission.  All rights       reserved. 


Note to readers:   I have been the coordinator of Growing Together Community Gardens for about a year and a half.  It keeps me very busy.  :)  You can check out our photos and posts on our facebook page.   Thanks!  

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