THANK YOU for Showing Your Support!

Graphic saying "Thank You!!!! December Donors Your support will help us in our 40th year of community gardening!" and featuring a  photo of several volunteers posed at a garden and smiling for the camera

We are thrilled to report that the Coalition has received over $6,000 in donations this year through our CoMoGives campaign!!! We also received some other donations in December, and we’re so grateful to all our donors!

These gifts mean A LOT to our small, all-volunteer organization! We are so happy to have community support and enthusiasm for our mission as we move into our 40th year as an organization! (That’s right, the CGC got its start in 1983!)

Of course, if you meant to donate and missed the CoMoGives deadline, please know that you can donate anytime via our PayPal donations portal.

We wish all of our gardeners, volunteers and supporters a Happy New Year. We hope you can spend this winter planning your best garden ever!

Last Chance to Give Through CoMoGives

We have reached the final few days of the CoMoGives local giving campaign, a truly inspired homegrown effort to support all kinds of nonprofit groups in Mid-Missouri. If you have the means to donate this year, we hope you’ll hop over to the CoMoGives site and give a gift to the Community Garden Coalition or another charity that’s close to your heart.

We’re thrilled with the support we’ve seen so far for community gardening as we get ready for our fortieth year! (That’s right, the CGC has been around since 1983!) We’re 2/3 of the way to our goal of raising $6,000 through CoMoGives this year.

As a supporter, you know we’re an all-volunteer group, run by a very small board and a hard-working set of garden leaders. In 2022, we supported over a dozen gardens used by hundreds of gardeners. When we asked our gardeners to tell us what community gardening means to them this year, we heard some inspiring words indeed!

The Garden Coalition depends on the continued generosity of supporters like you to continue serving these gardens. If you have already given, thank you! If you have not given and have the means, please consider a gift through CoMoGives by midnight this Saturday, December 31.

Thank you so much for your support and interest in our mission! Here’s to a happy New Year 2023 and more great gardens as the CGC turns 40!

More Garden Plots at Unite4Health

Unite4Health garden bed rehabilitation makes room for more gardeners!

As we look forward and prepare for another season of community gardens, we’re looking back at what was accomplished this year. Thanks to the efforts of one of our garden leaders at Unite4Health garden, Cheryl Jensen, there will be additional garden spots available next spring!

Before and after bed rehabilitation at Unite4Health garden in November, 2022

Cheryl’s tireless efforts, along with the help of Anne Jacobson, have really turned that garden into a little paradise for their gardeners! Cheryl had help from our favorite CCUA employee (and our newest board member) Mallary Lieber, and yours truly’s husband, Matt Knowlton, who loaded and delivered some primo compost for these beds. Then, visiting volunteers from AmeriCorps met with Cheryl to do the rehab!

Cheryl with some of her fall crops
Left, Mallary loading compost stored for us by CCUA; right, Matt unloading compost at U4H
The AmeriCorps crew, consisting of young volunteers from all over the U.S.

Another example of the lovely synergy that exists within our community and beyond!

As we wrap up our 39th year, the Community Garden Coalition is participating in the CoMoGives local giving campaign! Please consider a making a donation to support next year’s gardens through CoMoGives! You can also give directly through PayPal or snail mail at P.O. Box 7051, Columbia, MO, 65205.

Work Day at the New Britt/Hall Garden

AmeriCorps volunteers helped us get two gardens back in shape!

As I mentioned in a previous post, the City recently asked us to re-establish the Britt/Hall community garden by Fire Station 8. That’s a big request because normally that sort of garden work would be done by the gardeners themselves — who, in this case, weren’t an existing group yet.

However, board members, Lindsey Smith and Cheryl Jensen were not deterred, and not only stepped up to organize the work but found a wonderful crew of volunteers from AmeriCorps to come in and get this garden ready for spring planting! It wasn’t the warmest November day, but these volunteers from all over the US got to work and got it done! Then a week later these wonderful volunteers came over to the Unite4Health garden and worked their magic there, rehabilitating some more garden beds!

Our thanks go out to:
Hanna (MN), Rowan (VT), Kenyon (MS), Jessica (WI), Dylan (PA), Charlie (IL), Arx (FL), and Cassie (NY)

P.S. Don’t forget that you can help us support the Britt/Hall Garden, and all the member community gardens through Dec. 31 when you donate to the Community Garden Coalition through CoMoGives. Your small donation means a lot

Meet Our Newest Garden Leader

Recently, the city asked the Community Garden Coalition to take over and revamp a community garden site they had established next to Fire Station 8 at 2301 E. Nifong. Normally, the CGC doesn’t start gardens from scratch, but rather helps interested groups establish or run gardens. Community gardens need a person or people willing to be garden leaders who serve as liaisons with us. In this case, the Britt/Hall garden had no established group or leader. Still, we said we’d try to take on the project.

Board member Cheryl Jensen remembered that one of her past gardeners had moved to that area and has quickly found a willing garden leader by the name of Anh Thu Nguyen. We are so happy to have Thu on board and excited to see how this garden develops next year!

Thu and her husband Huy came to the U.S. from Vietnam in 2014 so that Huy could pursue his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at MU. Like many who come to school here, they found Columbia so wonderful that they decided to stay after he completed his degree. They have two children, a daughter, Bella, who likes reading and drawing, and a son, Leo, who plays piano and roller skates. Huy enjoys playing tennis and soccer while Thu likes to cook and craft. They all enjoy working in the garden growing vegetables and are looking forward to meeting the new people who join this garden.

P.S. Don’t forget that you can help us support the Britt/Hall Garden, and all the member community gardens through Dec. 31 when you donate to the Community Garden Coalition through CoMoGives. Your small donation means a lot to us!

A Great Start to CoMoGives! Thank You!

Wow! We are so grateful for all the support received on Giving Tuesday through CoMoGives!!! With over $1,800 received in the first day of our campaign, we’re so happy to have the support of our community as we get ready to celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2023!

Thank you so much to those who’ve given! We will put your gifts to good use supporting Columbia’s community gardeners.

If you haven’t given, yet, don’t worry — CoMoGives continues through December 31! Just visit our page at CoMoGives.com.

Your Donations Help Community Gardens Thrive!

It’s that time of year again when we ask you to consider making a donation to support the Community Garden Coalition via the CoMoGives local giving campaign.

This was a great year for our group. We’ve expanded our services with more raised beds and equipment for disabled and elderly gardeners, while increasing the number of neighborhood gardens (check out Britt/Hall at Fire Station #8). But here’s the really big news — we’ll be celebrating our 40th anniversary in 2023!

collage of photos showing a child watering a garden, a woman waving hello in a garden, a man standing in a garden with a shovel, a group of teens and a child digging in a garden and a pile of harvested collard greens. A message reads "Help our gardens grow with your donation! November 29-December 31 CoMoGives.com"

We may be one of the smallest all-volunteer, nonprofits in this area but we are mighty. What started in 1983 as a way to help some low-income residents produce their own healthy food has grown into a community-wide pursuit with hundreds of people from all walks of life participating. Obviously, we couldn’t have done this on our own — over the years we’ve had financial help from the City of Columbia, the United Way, the Community Foundation of Central Missouri, Walmart and Sam’s Club to name a few of the larger organizations. We’ve also relied on donations of land use, time, materials and money from thousands of generous individuals over the years.

Today, on Giving Tuesday, we’re counting on your support once again! It’s easy to give to CGC and all your favorite local nonprofits at www.comogives.com now through December 31.

Why should you donate?

  • Over half of local community gardeners are at or below the federal poverty level and the gardens are a significant source of healthy food for their families. 
  • Community gardens not only improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables but, increase physical activity and reduce stress.
  • Community gardens fill vacant lots with neighbors who work together, creating social ties that build a greater feeling of community and safety
  • Community gardens improve the air and soil, increase biodiversity and reduce stormwater runoff and the carbon footprint of our gardeners.    
  • All donations to the CGC go 100% to member gardens because we’re an all-volunteer nonprofit.

So please consider giving to our organization during CoMoGives. Any amount will help and small donations are our bread and butter!

Whether or not you’re able to give, thank you for a being a friend and supporter!

Kathy Doisy, President
Jenny McDonald, Vice-President
Bill McKelvey, Treasurer
Cheryl Jensen
Sarah Kendrick
Mallary Lieber
Lindsey Smith

 

A Bountiful Year of Community Gardening

In 2022, the Community Garden Coalition was pleased to help gardens across the city with many improvements. We were able to build and fill raised beds for gardeners with disabilities, a picnic table and purchase top quality compost for various member gardens. We’ve also covered the cost of water during this year’s drought and helped gardens add native plants to their sites. As the year winds down, we are preparing to install a new, larger shed at our Claudell Garden property, and helping to get old garden beds rehabbed and renewed at the Unite4Health garden and at a new member garden at fire station no. 8 on Nifong Blvd.

We’re also just about to start participating in the annual CoMoGives local giving campaign. This month-long donation drive helps so many nonprofits like us and we’re excited to be participating again. You can show your support via CoMoGives starting November 29, Giving Tuesday!

Throughout the coming weeks, we’ll share photos from the gardens and some of what community gardeners say their garden means to them. It’s been a bountiful harvest!

Thank you for your interest and support of community gardening!

Native Plants Are for Everyone

Did you know that the Community Garden Coalition began in 1983 to help lower-income families in Boone County meet their nutritional needs? Since then we have expanded to include anyone who is interested in being part of a community garden. What better way to create friendships and understanding between people from different walks of life? 

After almost 40 years of working to improve the health of thousands of members of our community with healthy foods, exercise and a sense of belonging, we are expanding our efforts to improve our environment. Our gardens already benefit Columbia and the surrounding areas by reducing impervious surfaces, the use of pesticides and the carbon footprint of our gardeners. While the mere presence of a garden is a boon for many creatures (especially deer, woodchucks and rabbits) we are hoping to make many of our gardens a refuge for native pollinators by encouraging the addition of native plants.

Monarch Butterfly on Swamp/Marsh Milkweed Flower
Monarch Butterfly on Swamp/Marsh Milkweed

This will benefit not only pollinators such as bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees, but the yield of many of your fruit and vegetable crops! Fruit plants that require pollinators include strawberry, peach, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, pear, cherry, apple, apricot, persimmon and quince. Vegetables that require pollinators to produce fruit include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers (there are some self-pollinating varieties), summer and winter squash, okra and green beans. 

Pollinator photos in gallery, left to right: bumblebee on button bush, gray comma on slender mountain mint, zebra swallowtail on butterfly milkweed, monarch on meadow blazing star

If you decide to add native plants to your garden it will require a separate sunny space that some members of the garden are willing to tend in addition to their own veggie plots. Unfortunately native plants need weeding too–especially in the first year or two when they put the majority of their growth into deep roots rather than leaves and flowers. This means that if you’re interested in helping our pollinator friends you should pick your spot carefully as those deep roots make many species of native plants poor candidates for transplanting. The garden coalition is in the process of offering free native plants that some of our member gardens will plant this year. If you are part of a member garden and are interested in natives, please let us know.

For anyone in the community interested in adding native plants to your personal garden or yard, find more information with the following websites and videos:

Grow Native:
Native plant database  
Native landscape plans 
Pollinator card menu  
Butterflies and their host plants

Missouri Department of Conservation: Native plants

Nadia Navarette-Tindall, local native plant expert on KBIA’s Paul Pepper ShowPlanting Native Wildflowers
Ideas about Host Plants for Pollinators

Nadia also has a Facebook group, Native Plants and More, where she shares seasonal info on natives and answers questions.

Pipevine Swallowtail on Garden Phlox
Pipevine Swallowtail on Garden Phlox

Thanks to Lindsey Smith for contributing to this article!

Another Successful Cool Season Plant Distribution

Many thanks to everyone that helped with the cool season plant distribution on April 2!

First, board member Sarah Kendrick put together an online order form and sent it out via garden leaders. After gardeners submitted their orders, Sarah tabulated all the orders and our treasurer Bill McKelvey placed our order at Strawberry Hills Nursery. Bill also rented a van and delivered the plants to our Claudell garden that Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, our vice president Jenny McDonald and her partner Cory McCarter took charge of the row cover and hoops ordered by gardeners. While everyone else was out celebrating the start of the weekend, these two spent Friday night cutting row cover, counting hoops and labeling everything to make the distribution much easier. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the row cover elves had visited our porch during the night. That was quite a relief because it was so windy that morning cutting row cover would have been extremely difficult!

Next up on Saturday morning was another great group of volunteers. Barb Onofrio, Julie Walker, Ann and Dan Bene, Felicia and Jahmari Sewell, Mallary Lieber, Cheryl Jensen, myself and Matthew Knowlton organized the plants for each garden so that garden leaders (like Dee Campbell-Carter) could easily pick up what their gardeners had ordered and deliver them to their garden.

The Community Garden Coalition and our friends continue to do so much for so many others! Thank you for your continued support!!