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!!

Meeting the Needs of All Our Gardeners

One of the challenges of helping others be successful gardeners is providing garden plots that meet the needs of our community’s elderly and disabled. We also have gardens challenged by less than ideal soil. (That lovely topsoil you purchase at the nursery may well have been scraped off a lot before a church or other structure was built, leaving behind a layer of clay.) A cure for both of these issues is to install raised beds.

Some of the raised beds at the Unite4Health garden were starting to deteriorate after many years of good use. (They had been the domain of long-time gardener Jean Newcombe, who recently passed away in her 90s! If that isn’t an advertisement for the benefits of gardening, what is?) Garden leader Cheryl Jensen made a plan to refresh the beds last year. She asked the Community Garden Coalition to pay for the materials, while Robb, the husband of co-leader, Anne Jacobson, would do the work as a way to help the keep down the cost. To get extra heavy-duty wood for the new beds, he contacted his friend, Chris Cady, who owns a specialty lumber company. Together, they milled the lumber, and then Robb spent some time rebuilding these beds. Many thanks to Robb Jacobson for offering us the benefit of his talents! See photos below.

In 2021, the CGC also funded new raised beds at the St. Joseph Street Garden, now run by LOVE, Columbia with Eric Lorenz as the garden leader, and at the Friendship Community Garden, powered by Dee Campbell Carter and her husband Gary Carter.

Another new addition to the Friendship Garden in 2021 was a large new storage shed, purchased with money given during the CGC’s 2020 CoMO Gives fundraising drive. The garden leader, Dee Campbell Carter, says they have a young artist who is planning a mural for the side of the shed this spring!

Thank You, December Donors!

We are so happy to report that the Coalition has received over $6,000 in donations this year from almost 80 donors through CoMoGives and beyond!!!

That means A LOT to our small, all-volunteer organization! We are so happy to have your support and to witness the enthusiasm for community gardening in our community!

Every penny of these donations will go straight to gardens via seeds, water, plants, tools, mulch, compost, lawn mowers, sheds, infrastructure and other gardening items to keep our gardeners growing. Stay tuned to see how the gardens of Columbia will flourish in 2022!

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!

Final Days of CoMo Gives 2021

So many friends of community gardening have stepped up to support our mission this month through CoMo Gives! We are so grateful for over $5,000 raised so far!!

If you’d like to help us build lasting gardens and serve our community, you still have two days! The CoMoGives campaign ends at midnight on Friday, December 31!

All the money we raise goes to supporting our member gardens with tools, water, infrastructure, supplies and more for the next growing season. As an all-volunteer group, we really value ALL donations, and we realize that even a small one can make a big difference!

Thanks for being a part of our gardening community and let’s look forward to a new growing season and a new year!

Meet Our Gardens 2021

Here’s a little peek into some of our member gardens this year. Today, on the shortest day of the year, it’s nice to look back and see the bounty of the summer season!
 

We are so grateful for all the community support we’ve received this year! Direct donations and those through CoMo Gives have totaled nearly $5,000 so far!!!
 
It’s not too late to show your support. You can give a gift to community gardening via CoMo Gives through midnight on December 31. Every little bit helps our small organization!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Thank You #GivingTuesday Donors!

Wow! We are so grateful for all the support received today through CoMoGives!!! With over $2800 received in the first day or our campaign, we’re already more than halfway to our goal!!

Thank you so much to those who gave today! We will put your gifts to good use in our community!

You can still support the garden coalition anytime through December 31! Just visit our page at CoMoGives.com.

photo of a community garden with text saying Thank You #GivingTuesday Donors

Show Your Support for Community Gardening in 2022

Our year-end fundraising runs through December 31 as we take part in Mid-Missouri’s local giving campaign, CoMoGives. Your donation can go a long way to helping Columbia’s community gardening projects next year!

In 2021, our all-volunteer group assisted gardens covering over 65,000 square feet of land which produced thousands of pounds food for our community!

In just the past year, besides providing seeds, plants, water, insurance, straw, compost, mulch, tools and other equipment, we also supported new or rehabbed garden beds at the Unite4Health, St. Joseph, and Friendship gardens. We funded a covered storage structure at Claudell garden for straw, and a 20-foot storage container at Friendship garden to assist in their expansion efforts. We also supported a new youth garden at Columbia United Church of Christ, and we’re assisting with expansions at the Benton and Russell Boulevard Elementary School gardens. We are also currently working with two groups of MU occupational therapy students to assist our gardeners with disabilities. All of this despite a pandemic!!

Community gardens have been shown to improve the health of the community, they augment public safety, promote civic engagement, increase green space, improve air and water quality and increase biodiversity. We want Columbia’s community gardens to continue to thrive next year, and we hope you can help us do that!

Please consider a gift to support our mission. Any amount will help and small donations go a long way to support our small operation!

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
Ann Marie Gortmaker
Kristin Hatton
Cheryl Jensen
Sarah Kendrick

 

Thank You to Our 2021 Gardeners, Leaders, Volunteers & Donors

On behalf of the board of the Community Garden Coalition, we are so thankful for all our wonderful gardeners, leaders, volunteers and donors who have put their time, effort and money into member gardens in 2021!

This second year of the pandemic came with new challenges for many of us. We hope that through your garden, or even through the garden of your friend or neighbor, you found a little joy.

To wrap up our year, the Community Garden Coalition is participating in the community-wide CoMoGives fundraising campaign this December. We depend on the monetary and volunteer support of people who value our mission. Please consider making a small donation this year or contact us about joining our all-volunteer board.

Starting on November 30, Giving Tuesday, you can donate to the CGC via CoMoGives and help all of our member gardens.

Kathy Doisy, President
Jenny McDonald, Vice President
Bill McKelvey, Treasurer
Ann Marie Gortmaker
Kristin Hatton
Cheryl Jensen
Sarah Kendrick

Season’s End 2021

Harvesting the community sweet potato plot at Unite4Health community garden in 2021.

Despite some lingering warm days, nighttime temperatures are trending lower and our first frost of the year is behind us now in Mid-Missouri. Did you get your green tomatoes plucked and your final sweet potatoes dug? Or maybe you’re still nursing some greens under a row cover, sowing a fall cover crop or planting garlic?

The majority of community garden plots are finished producing for the season, so it’s time to do a little housekeeping before winter sets in. We ask all community gardeners to 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. Generally, most dead plants and non-plant materials (string, wire, wood, metal, plastic, etc.) should be removed and disposed of. 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 November 30 (Giving Tuesday) 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 new members, too. Contact your garden leader or our board members to get involved.

Seed Packing in a Pandemic

A young boy smiles at a table full of bulk seeds, labels and seed envelopes.
Packing seeds is fun!

Normally each year in early spring, the Community Garden Coalition organizes a seed-packing party to package up bulk seeds which we then distribute to gardeners largely at our Spring Thaw public event. With the COVID pandemic still in play this spring, neither of those events were safe for us to hold. We DID get seeds distributed to our gardeners, however, thanks to all of our board members and several volunteers! Here’s a run-down of all that went in to making that happen.

First, Bill McKelvey drove down to our supplier, Morgan County Seeds in Barnett, for a socially-distanced seed purchase. Next, he made up packages of seed-packing supplies for our volunteers with the help of Jenny McDonald. Our helpful volunteers picked them up, packed the seeds, and then returned them to Cheryl Jensen, our newest board member. In the meantime, Sarah Kendrick put together an online seed ordering form that allowed participating garden leaders to request seeds for their gardeners. Those results went to Cheryl who did her best to meet everyone’s requests. When the seeds were organized for each garden, she then made arrangements for a seed pickup at her home. Whew!!!

We want to thank all our wonderful seed-packing volunteers in no particular order: Linda Coats, John Coats, Ann Marie Gortmaker, Lily Chan, Barb Onofrio, John Markovitz, Joe Horner, Mila Horner, Don Day, Sarah Kendrick, Abram Kendrick, Mira Stoddart, Cynthia Hoover, Anne Jacobson, Penny Sprochi, Marty Katz and Cheryl Jensen. In addition, we thank our garden leaders who’ve had to be more hands-on in picking up seed and plant orders for their gardeners! THANKS TO ALL!

Additionally, yours truly got us a grant from our local Sam’s Club that is helping us cover the cost of our seeds and related expenses for this and next year. Thank you very much, Sam’s Club!

How’s that for successful teamwork? In my mind this just confirms what I already knew — the Community Garden Coalition is part of the magic that makes Columbia such a great place to live!