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Community garden has room to grow

Farmington's first community garden is starting out small. Only 10 plots are being planned so far. But if it's successful, there's always room for it to grow, so to speak.

Located on part of the Meadowview Elementary School campus, the community garden is a collaborative project between School District 192 Community Education and the City of Farmington.

But it's more than just a place for a few families to grow some produce. It's an education tool and something that will benefit others.

According to community education program coordinator Barb Pierce, community gardens are generally cared for by volunteers. For the most part, that means the people who rent the plots are working together to maintain the garden as a whole. Taking that one step further, at least in Farmington's case, the people who rent the plots are also caring for families experiencing hardships.

The community garden has one plot set aside for produce that will be grown for the Farmington Food Shelf. All gardeners will be asked to give a little time to caring for that plot -- to help plant, help weed, help feed and help harvest -- as part of their commitment to the community garden.

A set of basic policies is being developed, Pierce said, to help guide the gardeners through the principles of a community garden. Simple things like having the common courtesy to be respectful of neighboring plots and stay clear of their plants, or weeding gardens on a regular basis are included in those policies.

But for the most part, each person or family who rents a plot gets a 6x20-foot space to plant vegetables. That size was chosen, Pierce said, after a local gardener suggested that the size allows people to work through the rows without having to step on the plants.

Another bonus to the community garden is that community education is offering a few classes specific to the garden to help members have a successful harvest.

"We're excited," Pierce said. "We're looking for some community involvement and inviting everybody to come down to help."

As it is a community garden and a community project, Pierce is looking for a few donated tools to be used by the gardeners. The donations could be anything from a wheelbarrow to handheld garden tools. Gardeners are welcome to bring their own tools, but Pierce would also like to have some on hand in case someone does not want to haul all their tools back and forth.

The community garden officially opens Saturday. A few plots have been spoken for, but Pierce is still welcoming interested gardeners. The cost to rent a plot for the entire growing season -- pretty much this weekend through October -- is $30. For more information, call Pierce at 651-460-3203.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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