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September 10, 2013

Harvest plants a seed: Community gardens continue to expand

Participants plan to continue, expand community gardens

(Continued)

She went on to say her reasons for wanting to continue include not only to provide a sustainable food source for Cardinal Services’ clients, but a chance for them to meet others in the community as well.

“We had some good interaction with other people that were also doing the community garden out there, so our individuals got to meet people they normally wouldn’t meet and interact with them,” Eisenbise said. “It’s neat to have them get out there and meet people they wouldn’t have normally met.”

The Emmaus Mission Center turned one of its parking lots into a garden this spring with seven raised plots that produced tomatoes, tomatillos, melons, corn, basil, peppers and bok choy. All of the produce will be available to those staying at the center’s shelter.

“We’re trying to prove that by growing stuff on asphalt, that it can be done anywhere,” said Jason Mitchell, executive director of the center.

Mitchell, who also chairs the Food Security Task Force for the Cass County Community Resources Network, which also helped organize the initiative, said he felt the results of the garden were as recreational and they were nutritional.

“We understand that our residents could benefit from freshly grown produce,” he said. “We knew it would be helpful for people who like to garden and don’t have the chance to garden.”

Mitchell added he would like to expand Emmaus’ community garden efforts to supplement the center’s food pantry in the future.

Franklin Elementary School had a community garden that spanned 112 square feet of basil, tomatoes and squash. Students and their families were welcome to the produce throughout the harvest.

“We’re really excited to have our first year completed with our garden,” said Hayley LaDow, principal of the school.

“We learned a lot for next year,” she continued, saying the students and faculty members now have a better grasp on which vegetables grow well together and better spacing techniques.

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