4,800 pounds harvested at community gardenSt. Croix Community Garden Project co-managers Carolyn Barrette and Don Hall have reason to celebrate. They and over 60 volunteers grew, harvested and donated 4,800 pounds of vegetables to the less fortunate in St. Croix and Pierce counties.
St. Croix Community Garden Project co-managers Carolyn Barrette and Don Hall have reason to celebrate. They and over 60 volunteers grew, harvested and donated 4,800 pounds of vegetables to the less fortunate in St. Croix and Pierce counties.
The community garden effort is coordinated and sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Master Gardener Association and located north of New Richmond on land donated by Jonna Z. Klucas of Garden Expressions Consulting.
According to Barrette, people came from all over the area to make the garden a reality. It began last March with volunteers planting seeds in Barb Weinmann’s greenhouse in Amery. The land was prepared in April by Don Hall and Dick Klucas of New Richmond.
In May, Trish Moberg, a math teacher at New Richmond High School organized 40 students to help plant the garden with Master Gardeners as part of Service Learning Day. During the season members of the Master Gardener Association and other volunteers maintained, harvested and delivered the tons of vegetables. They included: Yvonne Koch Proctor of River Falls; Rick Stefonek and Jean Dalton of New Richmond; Marilyn Davis, Sue Klatt, Donna Davis, Cheryl Barker and Sandy Madsen of Houlton; Corky Weeks of Hudson; Pete Nisen, Karen Halvorson and Barb Johnson of Baldwin; Donna Roukema, Judy Ziegler and Ellen Hurtgen of Emerald/Woodville; Trent Kowalchk and Sharon Reyzer of Roberts; and Nin Outwater of Amery.
Twenty-three vegetables, from beans to rutabagas, were donated to 27 locations in every city in St. Croix and Pierce counties, to locations such as: Croix View Senior Apartments in Hudson; the River Falls Community Meal program at United Methodist Church; St. Croix County Public Health Women, Infant, and Children Program in New Richmond; and the Baldwin Senior Center. Over 200 pounds of carrots were given to the Food Shelf Warehouse in Hudson.
Barrette said, “The volunteers are particularly devoted to donating veggies to places like Grace Place in Somerset, the only 24-hour staffed homeless shelter in the five-county area. The elderly at senior meeting centers are especially appreciative of the fresh produce as it reminds them of the time when they had their own gardens.”
Most community gardens rent plots to individuals, but the St. Croix Community Garden rents about 20 plots and asks volunteers to grow the rest of the one acre site to give away to others that can’t have a garden.
“I am constantly amazed at the giving spirit of the volunteers who plan, plant, tenderly care for, harvest the garden…and deliver the produce to the less fortunate.” said Ruth Hilfiker, UW-Extension Horticulture educator who advises the garden managers. “This year the volunteers donated 700 hours of time or about $6,000 worth of labor.”
According to Hilfiker, “During these difficult economic times with all the foreclosures in our area, donated vegetables helped maintain the health of lower income families and seniors. It is part of making our local food system development work for the whole diversity of people who live in our communities.”
Anyone can volunteer to grow, deliver produce or financially support the St. Croix Community Garden. For more information or to find out about veggie drop off points, call Barrette at 715-549-6438.
Persons interested in becoming a master gardener volunteer, should call Diana Alfuth, UW-Extension Horticulture educator in Pierce County at 273-6781.
The drop off locations included: In River Falls, United Methodist Church Community Meal Program; Baldwin, at Senior Center, Gethsemane Lutheran Church Community Meal Program, Cedar St. and Pleasant View Apartments; Deer Park, at Senior Center; Glenwood City, at West CAP, Glen Park Manor, Community Center Kitchen; Hammond, at Senior center, West View Apartments; Hudson, at Food Shelf Warehouse, Buena Vista and Croix View Apartments, Senior Center, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church; New Richmond, at Boardman Meadows Apartments, First Lutheran Church Community Meal Program, Senior Center, St. Croix Co. Public Health; Roberts, at Park Place Apartments and Senior Site; Somerset, at Grace Place Homeless Shelter and Food Shelf, Town Hall, and Senior Center; Woodville, at Oak View Apartments and Senior Center.