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March 29, 2013

Logansport community gardens project moves ahead

Three garden sites planned with fourth in the works.

LOGANSPORT — Logansport’s community garden project is thinking spring as leader Thomas Henderson prepares to break ground.

Henderson, executive director of the ACTS project, said they’ll start planting community gardens at Franklin Elementary School, Emmaus Mission Center and Ivy Tech-Logansport at the end of April. To prepare for planting those gardens, and for individual gardens, Henderson is hosting classes on what to grow and how to plant in a small space.

The goal of the community gardens is to educate people on sustainable farming, allow them to purchase a gardening plot or garden on their own land and then grow healthy food for themselves and the community.

Henderson has been talking with community members since last year and he said the response has been overwhelming.

“The community gardening effort is taking off and gone exponentially,” Henderson said.  

He said they’re prepared to start planting at their three sites late next month, with the possibility of obtaining a new site at Logansport Memorial Hospital.

Gardeners will be planting in raised square foot frames, which Henderson said don’t require much weeding or materials.

“What I wanted to do was make community gardening as easy as possible for people,” he said.  

The plots will be tailored to whatever the individual wants to plant, Henderson said. But crops will include everything from herbs to melons to broccoli.

Some sites will have focus areas, like at Franklin Elementary, where Henderson will help plant plots that will be easy for children to garden. Other focus areas include nutrition, culinary plots or plots with vegetables to address certain health issues.

Because the Ivy Tech plot is so large, Henderson said the area will be open for not just faculty and students, but also Cass County residents.

Plants, like tomatoes, have already been started by the Logansport High School and will soon be ready to be transplanted, Henderson said.

To instruct gardeners through the process, Henderson said he’ll be teaching a different class each week on lessons like how to grow the different crops in a limited space and how to control pests.

“We’re doing community gardens but we’re also instructing on how to maximize growing for yourself and maybe your neighbor,” Henderson said.  

Henderson said they’ll also be sharing recipes throughout the process.

The plot at Emmaus Mission Center will be used to the provide produce to residents, said Executive Director Jason Mitchell.

“Our main thing is going to be making sure the residents here get the produce,” Mitchell said.

He said they’ve had a garden in the past, but this time, he’s happy that the plots will be more low maintenance.

Henderson’s project is supported by the Cass County Resource Network and the United Way.  

“Since he’s a one-person operation we try to do as much for him as we can,” said Lita Rouser, Director of Impact Strategies and Community Investment.

But Henderson said the biggest thing he needs now is volunteers.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

WANT TO GO?

What: Free gardening classes

When: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays starting April 2

Where: Room 162 at the Ivy Tech-Logansport campus

Find out more: For more information on the ACTS project, contact Thomas Henderson at tchenderson@theactsproject.net

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

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