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

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!

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!

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!

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

 

A Few More Days to Give

As December winds down, please remember that you can support local nonprofits like the Community Garden Coalition through December 31 via CoMoGives.

The money we raise through CoMoGives 2020 will fund improvements to the Friendship Community Garden and allow us to continue supporting our other member gardens with tools, water, supplies and more for the next growing season. We’re more than 70% of the way to our $5,000 goal, and you can be sure that even a small donation can make a big difference!

We appreciate all the supportive feedback we’ve gotten from gardeners and community members this year. Maybe working in your garden meant a little more to you or provided a larger portion of your family’s food. Offering people those opportunities is what we’re all about.

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

Unite4Health Garden Inspires Happiness and Nurtures Health

Situated next to the Columbia/Boone County Health Department on City-owned property, the Unite4Health Garden offers individual plots to people from all over the community. The CGC is so happy to partner with the City of Columbia to support this large garden.

This year, we asked gardeners to share their thoughts about why they valued community gardening. A few Unite4Health gardeners shared what their community garden plots have meant to them.

“I can grow the best quality vegetables, and save an enormous amount of money, while enjoying self-sufficiency and the nurturing of a garden.”
~ Anne Jacobson, Garden Co-Leader

“The community garden has provided benefits beyond my expectations. There’s the exercise in biking or walking to and from the site along with the outside work required. I have shared the whole experience with my granddaughter as we have produced outstanding home grown tomatoes and other vegetables to savor and share with friends and neighbors. A bonus has been meeting like-minded gardeners and everyone has been extremely helpful.”
~ J.R. Holliday

“I am so grateful for my community garden plot at the Unite4Health garden. I don’t have enough sun in my yard to have one at home, and I missed gardening. I also love that I can control what goes into and on my food–no pesticides or chemical residues. There’s nothing like your own produce straight from the garden you grew yourself, and it’s so much more delicious and nutritious than store-bought. And it’s wonderful to dig in the dirt for your mental and physical health.”
~ Amanda Sprochi

There are still a few days left to show your love to community gardens in Columbia with a gift to CGC via the CoMoGives local giving campaign! We are directing half of what we raise this year to the Friendship Gardens group and the rest will help us continue supporting great gardens like Unite4Health.

And, P.S., we are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of CoMoGives and the Community Foundation of Central Missouri. They make it so easy to give to all your favorite nonprofits that make our community what it is!

  • Anne Jacobson's plot at Unite4Health garden
  • Garden leader Cheryl in the sweet potato patch at the Unite4Health garden
  • A socially distanced garen party at Unite4Health garden
  • garden leader Cheryl poses with a small apple tree with a couple red apples at Unite4Health garden
  • a gardener at Unite4Health garden
  • gardeners from Unite4Health pose while digging up sweet potatoes in a community plot
  • two gardeners wearing masks pose while tending to their plot in late fall 2020 at the Unite4Health garden