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South Central Gardening: Help Others Through a Community Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Want to help others? Your local community garden is a good place to start.

The garden sits alongside a pond and park in the center of town.
Squash and green beans grow abundantly in raised beds.

The Guthrie Community Garden grew from the germination of a simple idea. Our nation's bad economy hit the residents of Guthrie, Oklahoma (north of Oklahoma City), hard. Board members from God's Food Bank in that community realized that families who can't afford basic necessities wouldn't make fresh fruits and vegetables a priority. An idea began to form: Reach out to those families through a community garden. Here's how they did it:

Gardening and helping others make people happy.
  • Drew a plan of raised beds and walkways and approached the Guthrie city council. The council donated land and water - keeping costs low.
  • Built 250 feet of production beds for the food bank. Began constructing 4 x 8-foot beds for the community, including three handicapped-accessible beds and brick sidewalks.
  • Created a Facebook page and were frequently featured in the local newspaper, The Guthrie NewsLeader.
  • Solicited material donations from local businesses and cash from programs such as Dine Out to Donate.
  • Established consistent workdays and approached church and civic groups for helping hands.
  • Applied for grants to cover larger costs such as drip irrigation.
  • Established guidelines. The garden is organic, and gardeners compost.
Brick sidewalks make it easier for handicapped gardeners to maneuver their wheelchairs.

Mark Spradlin is the garden coordinator and heads up daily garden maintenance. Kim Quigley is a registered dietitian and program director for the garden. She works diligently to obtain funding and outside assistance. Other board members and volunteers give in numerous ways. Fourteen hundred people at the food bank benefit from garden produce.

From left: Kim Quigley, Mark Spradlin and McKinzie Quigley hold a days worth of bounty headed for the food bank.

The garden occupies land adjacent to the 1893 water works building. Garden organizers dream of rehabbing the historic building to create an indoor community space.

A garden and dreams for a brighter future start with a seed, but both must be nurtured to bring them to fruition. The volunteers at the Guthrie Community Garden are doing just that.

What seeds would you plant and nurture today?

 

See more South Central gardening articles.