The community garden on Claudell Lane has been part of the CGC network since 2000, but it was used as a neighborhood garden for decades before that. I recently found out a lot about the history of this garden by unearthing some photos and a newspaper article from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
According to the article neighbors had been informally using the vacant lots to garden since the 1950s and the Garden Coalition had been renting the properties for the token rent of $500 a year from owner Goldie Sims. When Sims put the lots up for sale in 1999 and the CGC raised more than $22,00 to purchase them.
“Most of the people who live on that block and need the garden are extremely low-income,” said Karen Graul, coalition treasurer. “So we raised the money ourselves.” The coalition received a $13,000 grant from the HeinkelCharitable Trust, a $5,000 grant from the Boone Electric Community Trust and $8,000 from the Boone County Community Trust. The group also raised about $1,000 from downtown business owners, including Eldon Benus, former owner of Cafe Time, which is now Das Kaffeehaus Cafe and Deli; Richard King of The Blue Note; Susan McQuilkin of Ninth Street Deli; John Pham of Bangkok Gardens; and Annette Weaver of Columbia Books.
Mrs. Sims also helped the project by taking the lots off the market while CGC raised money. And she apparently traveled from her home in Oklahoma to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the garden which was officially named after her late husband Claude.
These photos taken in 2000 or the following season, show a lush garden and a very diverse group of gardeners. Which is very similar to what you’ll see next spring if you happen down Claudell Lane.
Though this is still the only garden the CGC actually owns, at last count we offered support to over 30 different garden projects throughout Columbia. And, this December, we’re focused on fundraising again as we get ready for another year of water, tools, seeds, compost, mulch and more. In keeping with our long tradition of local fundraising, we’re working with CoMo Gives to raise money through December 31. You can be a part of our mission by giving a donation or sharing our story with a friend. There are 12 more days to give! Thank you so much for your support!
You can read the full newspaper article here. (Special thanks to the Daniel Boone Regional Library for the NewsBank subscription that allowed me to find this article.)
Congratulations to Don Day, winner of a Missourian Progress Award for his dedication to social justice! Don has also been a dedicated garden leader at Broadway Christian Church garden for many years. Keep up all your good work, Don!
AND, congratulations to Adam Saunders, winner of a Progress Award for progress in philanthropy! Adam has been the garden leader at St. Joseph St. garden and other community gardening projects for many years in addition to his work with the Center for Urban Agriculture.
Our community is lucky to have you both!
Don says one of the best ways to improve social equality…
…is to get to know each other. Statewide and nationally we’ve had a lot of encounters with people of different races. Really, if you get acquainted about people and learn about them, you find out they have a lot of the same problems and challenges that you do, and you find out they’re really great people.
Everybody eats, so there’s opportunities for tons and tons of progress in the world of food here in Boone County and across the country, really.
Read more about Don’t efforts to promote social justice, Adam’s work creating the agriculture park and about all the other folks making progress in our community in the Progress Edition of the Missourian.
For the second year in a row, the Community Garden Coalition is participating in the CoMo Gives campaign to raise funds for our organization! The goal this year is to raise $7,500 during the month of December – and we need your help!
Even a modest donation can go a long way! Because we’re an all-volunteer organization, all the money we raise goes right back into improving and supporting our local gardens in neighborhoods and schools. Raising money from individuals in our community who support our ideas helps diversify our funding sources and allows us to be less reliant on grant funding.
We hope you will show your support for community gardening with a donation to our CoMo Gives CGC page between December 1 and 31. Also, please consider growing our gardening community by passing this message on to friends and family who may be interested!
You can also stay up to date on CGC happenings and this campaign by following us on Facebook.
Thank you for your support and consideration, and happy holidays from your CGC Board of Directors!
Sarah Kendrick, President
Jenny McDonald, Vice President
Bill McKelvey, Treasurer
Lauren Godsy, Secretary
Ann Marie Gortmaker
The Circus Lyon Community Garden got its start in 2006, when owner Mark Stevenson opened it up for the coalition to start a garden with support from neighbors. That first year, kids from a City of Columbia youth camp helped plant some donated tomatoes and marigolds. The kids got to get their hands in the dirt and learn about how to place young plants in the ground and water them.
Check out these photos from that first year!
The garden has continued to thrive since then, with gardeners even going on a float trip together in 2017. Like all of our neighborhood gardens, plots are open to anyone in the community who applies. Gardeners plant and harvest from their individual plots, and are expected to contribute to the general upkeep of the garden, like mowing and mulching.
Here’s a crew of Circus Lyon gardeners this spring after a work day to mulch a common area.
Support this community garden and others like it by donating to the Community Garden Coalition this December during CoMo Gives. Donate now through December 31! https://comogives.com/community-garden-coalition
On a cold morning early this year, friends of the Russell Boulevard Elementary garden built some new raised beds for their student gardeners with funding help from the Garden Coalition. We’re so thankful to volunteers like these for lending their muscle to help gardens grow and kids learn!
Help us fund more garden projects like this one in 2019 with a quick donation through CoMo Gives!
Did you know? The Community Garden Coalition has been around since 1983, supporting gardens, health, nutrition and community.
This year, we counted 31 member gardens to which we offer support. Right now, we’re getting ready to be a part of CoMo Gives, a donation project that has just as much community spirit as we do. We hope you’ll shake down the couch cushions for a few extra dollars to see if you can help us fund another year of water, mowers, mulch and hoses!
It all starts on #GivingTuesday!
(Wondering about the lovely felt banner pictured here? To the best of our knowledge it was made by generous and talented former CGC board member Barb Michaels.)
Well, that was an early snow! The 2018 gardening season has come to a close with some record low temperatures in Mid-Missouri this month. Before you shift away from thinking about gardening for the winter, please do the following.
- If you’re at a community or group garden, let your garden leader know whether you’re planning to return next year. This will help leaders know what plots will be available for newcomers next year.
- Clean up your plot. If you need tips on how to put your garden to bed for the winter, consult your garden leader.
- Consider making a year-end donation to the CGC to help with maintaining your community garden next year. We’re a very small, all-volunteer non-profit, and even modest contributions help us fund water, mulch, tools and more to support community gardening in Columbia.
Donate here today, or wait for December when the CGC will be participating in the CoMo Gives local giving campaign.
- Consider donating some of your time. Individual gardens need good leaders and team members and the board of the CGC could use some new members, too. Contact your garden leader or our board members to get involved.