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!
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.
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.
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!
We received over $5,000 $5,500 in donations this year from more than 70 80 donors through CoMoGives in December!!!
That means A LOT to our small, all-volunteer organization! We are so appreciative of your support and your enthusiasm for community gardening!
These donations will go directly into our budget for assisting community gardens with water, tools, supplies, plants, mulch, fences, mowers and other garden improvements. And HALF of our total is pledged to projects at the Friendship Community Garden! Stay tuned in 2021 to watch them grow!
This fall, my husband Matt and I took a tour of the Interfaith Garden with Lily Chan, the garden leader. This garden is located behind the Beth Shalom synagogue at 500 W. Green Meadows Road and is a collaboration between Beth Shalom and the Newman Center. Volunteers grow a wide variety of organic produce such as greens, beans, tomatoes, okra, sweet potatoes, herbs and even persimmons for the Central Missouri Food Pantry.
When Lily showed us some planters that the Boy Scouts had built for them, I couldn’t help noticing that they looked almost identical to the ones that my husband, Matt had been building this year for us and our neighbors. When Lily mentioned that they wished they had more of these planters, I filed it away for later to ask Matt if he was willing to build some more for them. (My happy relationship tip is never volunteer your spouse/significant other without asking first!) Matt was willing! He put together an estimate for two more planters, and the Community Garden Coalition approved it and paid for the supplies. A couple of weeks later, we delivered them to the garden.
Interfaith Garden board members and Matt Knowlton (center) pose at the garden with the raised planters
Here’s what Lily had to say:
Thank you so much for the beautifully made planters you donated to the Interfaith Garden. It was a work of art. Brent, Mike, Susan, I, and all our volunteers are very grateful to you both for your generosity and kindness towards us and for contributing to the Interfaith Garden’s mission of feeding the poor in our community. And the timing is so perfect, too. We can start putting plant remains in there and top them with leaves and compost so they will be ready to be planted by spring.
This is just one of the many ways that the Community Garden Coalition is helping to support our community. Please consider making a donation to support gardens like the Interfaith Garden this December.
It’s just over halfway through December, and we’ve raised more than half of our $5,000 goal through the CoMoGives local giving program!! Thank you for all you’ve given and for sharing our message with your friends!
Speaking of halves, we’re pledging half of what we raise to the Friendship Community Garden. Find out more about this diverse, resilient garden that is trying to improve the health of their neighbors and friends with this short video from the City of Columbia.
We want to thank Vance and Becky Clearwater who kindly donated their Troy-Bilt Horse rototiller to the Community Garden Coalition last week! We got it on the 27th and put it to use on the 28th! Here it is tilling some beds at the Ann Street Garden.
If you’re thinking of donating garden tools or equipment, see our “Give Stuff” page.
One of the best parts of being on the board of the Community Garden Coalition is the opportunity to visit all of our gardens. Although it’s been less frequent this year due to the virus, I’ve still been invited to socially-distanced garden parties, harvesting events, and just to talk with gardeners and see how things are going.
When I’m struggling to fill out all the forms for our city grant (which only provides about half of our funding), I find it’s wise to take a break and look at some of the garden pictures we’ve taken during the year. It reminds me how important this organization is to so many people, and why I want to continue doing my part to help!
You can do your part to help others December 1-31, with a donation to the Community Garden Coalition through CoMoGives.
This newer garden located on Smiley Lane at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, has been growing in membership despite a lack of good soil, a storage shed and a water spigot. We are hoping that you will help us to help them!
Friendship Garden leaders and members have done a lot of creative problem solving in their few years of existence. From coming up with a water hauling and storage system last year to pivoting during the pandemic to offer a garden education program to kids displaced from their regular summer camp. Their efforts are inspiring and the CGC wants to help them continue to improve their garden.
You and your friends can also stay in touch with CGC and check on our progress by following us on Facebook. Thank you for your support and consideration, and happy holiday season from myself and the rest of the CGC Board of Directors!
Kathy Doisy, President
CGC Board Members Jenny McDonald, Vice President Bill McKelvey, Treasurer Ann Marie Gortmaker Kristin Hatton Cheryl Jensen Sarah Kendrick