Community garden organizers digging for public interestPublished 9:01am Friday, April 23, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
The movement to get more Niles area residents coming together and growing their own produce is, well, gaining ground.
Members of Niles Community Gardens were at the Westside Administration Building on Thursday evening tilling soil for three area gardens.
“People are excited about this,” active member Jan Personette said.
Those interested in taking part can pick up a registration form at the Niles District Library or access one online (www.ci.niles.mi.us). Registration is free and costs to rent a plot are $15 for a 10- by-10-foot space and $25 for 10 by 20 feet.
“We put this program together because there are other communities that have community gardens and we’re trying to educate people on how to garden, how to grow their own produce,” Personette said.
Utilizing the community gardens could also foster community interaction, she said, and help families or individuals save money by growing their own fresh food.
Should the community gardening program turn out to be a success, Personette said Niles Community Gardens could not only to be a measure for which the community can grow, but also give back.
“Our first objective is to feed our families,” she said. “(To) give our families good stuff to eat. And when the harvest is complete we want to share some with the local food banks.”
So far response to the community garden project has been enthusiastic, she said.
“We’re trying to encourage people to get a couple of families together,” she said. “They can work with another family or some friends,” sharing the costs of the plot rental and the rewards of what’s grown there.
The organization has even gotten some cooperation from the city. Personette said the city is “working with us,” helping out with leaf mulch that has been composted over the last few years and the city itself will have a plot.
“I personally think we’re going to run out of spaces this year,” she added.
In addition to an opportunity for more and more people to get into organic farming, Personette said there will be the opportunity for education. The organization includes many experienced volunteers and master gardeners who will be holding educational classes on various subjects of gardening.
The lessons will not only benefit adults but the very act of gardening could educate children as well, Personette said.
“This will be good for kids,” she said. “It will give them a chance to connect with where their food comes from. This is a good education for them.”
Those who are interested in learning more or registering for a plot can contact the Niles Community Gardens at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Personette at (269) 462-2787 or (269) 362-1946.
The Niles Community Gardens announces the organizational meetings for the three garden plots where anyone is welcome to plant and grow their own fresh produce. The gardens are located at Main and 15th streets, Ferry and Seventh streets and Lincoln and Clay streets.
Meeting dates and places are:
Ferry Street site meeting will be held at:
Ferry Street Resource Center
620 Ferry St.
May 6 and May 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Main and Fifteenth Street site will be held at:
First Baptist Church
1446 East Main St.
May 3 and May 10 at 7 p.m.
Westside School site meeting will be held at:
St. Mary’s School Gymnasium
219 S Lincoln St.
May 4 and May 11 at 7 p.m.