Community garden program kicks off for the summer

Press Release Date:
Friday, May 14, 2010

Contact:

Contacts: Andy Meade, Marshall Community Center, Assistant Director, 487-7098, or Jane Tesner Kleiner, Parks Manager, 619-1113

The Vancouver Parks and Recreation Department has seen a successful start to the community garden program this spring. The majority of the 284 available garden plots have been sold. A few plots are still available to lease.

The garden program went through some changes this year. It expanded from four locations to five, with the installation of the new garden at Leroy Haagen Memorial Community Park (NE 9 St. and 136 Ave.). The gardens at Marshall Park and Fruit Valley Park were expanded to increase capacity. In past years, the garden plots have all been 20 foot by 20 foot square. This season, gardeners were able to select from the standard plot or the new smaller 10 foot by 10 plots, or accessible, raised garden beds. In addition, gardeners were only able to secure one plot per household, a change from previous years when gardeners could have two plots. With the new selection of garden plots and the increased capacity due to the one plot limit, there has been an increase of 133 new gardeners this year.

Several partnerships have formed, helping to increase the gardening options and education. One plot at the Haagen garden site has been adopted by a team from the 2010 class of Leadership Clark County. This team has established organic gardening practices in their plot and will install an information kiosk to educate about sustainable gardening practices. At the Marshall garden, the Marshall Center's Teen Gardening Program's goal is to educate youth in our community about the positive benefits of gardening and healthy eating. In turn, the teens will mentor younger community members about gardening. Another goal is to harvest and donate food to local shelters, food banks, or senior centers. The participants make healthy dishes from the harvest to share with hungry teens that come in the center. The teen program benefits from these local businesses and partnerships to ensure their success: Waste Connections, Macfarlane Bark, Rain Or Shine Greenhouse, Nursery & Landscape Supplies, Hudson's Bay High School horticulture class & teacher Steve Lorenz, NAACP and Gifford Pinchot Urban Youth Programs, Cascade Greenhouse. 

There has been some vandalism in the new Haagen garden in the last couple of weeks, since planting started. Citizens are asked to be observant of activities in the gardens that appear to be destructive, and contact the Police department if vandalism or suspicious activity is observed. The Vancouver Police Department's Neighbors on Watch program may be in the area to provide positive eyes in the park.

The Clark County Public Health Department also completed the Growing Groceries mentor training for the spring. There are also several garden mentors that may be available to assist gardeners of all abilities with their gardening questions. Contact Aerial Rivers at ariel.rivers@clark.wa.gov or (360) 397-8000, ext. 7388 for more information about the mentor program.

For more information go to vanclarkparks-rec.org and link to Facilities - Community Gardens.