POMEROY, Ohio — The first of what is hoped will be many community gardens in Meigs County is well on its way to a successful harvest.
The Meigs County Farmer’s Market brought the idea to the community this spring, with market secretary-treasurer leading the effort to secure funding for the project. Market Director Stephanie Rife said the market board wanted to give back to community and to encourage healthy eating habits.
“We have so much fresh produce at the Market each week to purchase, but we also wanted people to have the opportunity to grow their own,” Rife said.
She continued that there is so much that growing your own food can teach you. Just as the sun and rain enrich the soil, the community garden enriches the community with the idea of coming together for a common purpose.
“Part of being involved in a community garden is not only learning how to grow plants, but also about growing the community with a shared goal,” she said. “It is about experienced gardeners imparting their knowledge to new gardeners, it is about younger gardeners helping others with tasks beyond their capabilities, it is about learning to share.”
The construction of nine raised beds was accomplished in April by members of the market board and the volunteer group Big Bend Beardsmen. Two of the beds are for use by the non-profit Mulberry Country Kitchen, two are for the community to harvest, and the remaining beds have been reserved by individuals and families. The two beds that are for the community are marked and maintained by those who reserve the other beds.
Market Secretary-Treasurer Dixie Hawthorn has been the driving force behind securing resources to build and maintain the gardens. Her efforts include obtaining a grant and organizing their construction.
With a growing number of people with food insecurity in the area, Hawthorn said, “Those two beds are literally for the community to harvest, that is part of the goal, to share with those who need it.”
Rife and others hope this will be the beginning of other gardens in the surrounding communities. The goal is to have 10 additional gardens in the next five years.
“We will learn from this first garden,” Rife said. “And build on that to develop more. We are reaching out to communities across the county to check out this one, and hopefully decide to include the concept in their community.”
For other questions about the community gardens, or to discuss starting one in your area, contact the Meigs County Farmers Market by visiting: https://www.meigscountyfarmersmarket.com.
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Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.