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

Interfaith Garden Planters

3 Interfaith gardeners standing at the garden with some of their harvestThis 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 pose at the garden with raised planters

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.

You can donate via CoMoGives through December 31!

 

Support Community Gardening for Another Season

There are just a few days left to donate to your favorite local organizations through the CoMoGives local giving campaign! Share your support for community gardens in Columbia with a donation by December 31.👍❤️🥕🌱👏
https://comogives.com/product/community-garden-coalition-3/

The CGC has been helping gardens grow since 1983. Here’s a look back at some of the gardens we supported in 2019.

The support we receive from donors like you allows us to fund fences, tools, water, mulch, compost, plants, seeds and equipment at gardens like these. It only takes $10 to show your support for another great year of growing community through gardens.

Thank you for being a part of our community!

Ash Street Garden – A True Community

Hari Poudel at the Ash Street Community Garden

One of the ways that the Community Garden Coalition gets funding for our efforts (besides your generous donations) is through a small grant from the City of Columbia. To receive this grant, we must apply every two years and go through the same rigorous process as agencies with paid employees. Part of the review process includes taking Health Department commissioners on a tour of one of our gardens. This year, Garden Leader Hari Poudel and other gardeners hosted this tour at the Ash Street Garden, and I went along.

That tour was a revelation for me! I wish that everyone could have been along to see how important this garden is to so many people. I always knew that we helped people grow tasty and healthful produce for themselves, family and friends, but I didn’t realize how many people originally from other countries used our gardens to grow their native produce and medicinal plants. According to Hari, there are thirty different families gardening at Ash Street, many of whom came from Nepal, Bangladesh, Taiwan, South Korea and China.

I recently asked Hari if he would mind answering the following questions so more folks could get a glimpse of the Ash Street gardening community.

Q: What inspired you to become the garden leader at Ash Street?

Hari: First, I am very glad to serve as a garden leader in the Ash St garden. The key motivational factor is my intention of serving local communities where I live. Second, when I am at the garden, I feel it is my second home. It is also a place to meet people from different backgrounds, experiences, and cultures. More importantly, a community garden can serve as a social network place which helps in enhancing social ties and building a greater feeling of community. Lastly, I am able to learn different vegetable farming practices from people from different countries. It’s a great learning opportunity.

Q: Please describe the gardeners at Ash St. and how you think the garden helps them and their families.

Hari: The garden has a broad impact at the community level. About 30 households, including 67 family members, are actively involved in Ash St garden. Gardeners have grown a wide variety of vegetables. More than 50% have been gardening for more than four years. We always have new applicants on our waiting list. The planting season starts right after our garden kick-off day in April and it will go until late October or early November. During my four year experience as a garden leader, I would say more than 90% of the gardeners depend on fresh vegetables for about 5-6 months on the garden. Thus, I would say that our garden has significantly contributed to help in providing fresh vegetables to our gardeners. I am also one of the beneficiaries.


Thanks to Hari and all the gardeners at Ash St., the Health Department commissioners were very pleased with their garden tour, and the City has once again awarded the CGC with a social services grant to continue our support for gardens like these.

CoMoGives logo

This December, you can also show that you support community gardening by making a donation to the CGC through the CoMoGives local giving project. Your dollars go directly to pay for water, tools, mulch and more at gardens like Ash Street. Find our CoMoGives page here, and don’t forget to donate by December 31!

Support Diversity, Support Community Gardening

“The garden is the crossroads of our community. I can’t think of a better way to encourage diversity than a garden — it’s diversity in action!” – Johann Geyer, Unite 4 Health Garden

This is a good reminder that community gardens grow community as well as food! With only a few days left in 2018, the garden coalition needs donations large and small to continue our support of the diverse community gardens of Columbia next year.

There’s still time to help the Community Garden Coalition grow food and fellowship in 2019! Just visit our CoMoGives page to donate.

You can also help us by sending this message on to family, friends and neighbors. CoMo Gives will accept donations for us and 121 other great local groups through December 31.

We appreciate your support for community gardening!