FOR HUB CITY TIMES
MARSHFIELD — Vegetable gardening is a healthy way to save money and enjoy fresh produce at home. When done correctly, even the smallest plot can produce copious amounts of fruits and vegetables and possibly provide a significant savings to your grocery budget. Growing your own veggies is like printing your own money.
Marshfield Area Growing Together Community Gardens are celebrating their 14th year of providing area residents with a sunny space to grow fresh vegetables in rich compost while saving money. This year, the group is reaching out to new gardeners with an offer of a bed at its Church of Christ site on Felker Avenue for only $5. The group provides the water, raised bed, fencing, compost, mulch and instruction in square foot gardening techniques. Participants bring the seeds and willingness to learn how to grow their own food.
The community gardens benefit the Marshfield area in many ways, including improving access to fresh food, serving as sites for restoring and building health, and as places to learn gardening skills and build relationships. In 2008, a group of local leaders met to explore the possibility of providing a community gardening experience for the residents of the Marshfield area. This group represented the Marshfield Clinic Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, UW-Extension, Wood County Master Gardener Volunteers, and interested members of the community, who formed a Community Garden Committee. Garden sites were established at First Presbyterian Church in 2009, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in 2010 and St. Alban’s Episcopal Church (now Church of Christ) in 2011.
The Garden Committee is grateful for each of the churches’ continued support for the gardening programs by generously providing water when rain is insufficient. Recent tree removal at the Church of Christ site made that location bright and sunny once again.
Following a change in partnership in 2020, each of the churches reaffirmed support for their garden sites, and the Community Garden Committee focused their energies on the core activities of community gardening. The Marshfield Area Community Foundation graciously accepted Marshfield Area Growing Together Community Gardens as a Sponsored Program and currently acts as the fiscal sponsor.
Returning Community Gardeners are asked to make a $20 donation for each reserved four-foot by eight-foot compost-filled bed. Donations cover about half of the operating expenses, with grants and contributions as additional funding sources. Garden pathways are mulched annually with wood chips and a water source is available at all three sites. Gardeners have the opportunity to learn organic square foot and vertical gardening techniques, composting strategies, natural pest control and benefit from Master Gardener Volunteer supervision.
In addition to encouraging cooperation within the garden gates, the Marshfield Area Growing Together Community Gardens supports the work of other community organizations, such as the Soup or Socks Food Pantry, The Hannah Center and the Marshfield Clinic Health System YMCA youth program.
If interested in saving money by growing your own produce and registering for a garden bed for the 2023 growing season, please email Barb Gillespie at [email protected]
Donations are always accepted to help keep this amazing program running smoothly as well.