The 2023 growing season for the East Stanford Neighborhood Garden is just beginning and there’s much anticipation.
This garden, located near the middle of Schweitzer’s campus, is a place where gardeners of all ages come together and bond as a community. Ken Bass, who oversees garden operations, says the connections people make as they grow various foods are unique.
“Sharing food with your neighbor, learning about new foods, and teaching someone about your favorite vegetables are all things that make this garden a special place. It is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves.”
During 2022, 42 gardeners worked throughout the growing season (March – October) to produce over 4500 lbs. of food (or $4,000 worth of vegetables if purchased in a retail setting). Even as growers faced challenges including heavy spring rains and sweltering summer heat, plant diseases, mildew, and blight, they persisted and succeeded.
Each garden plot is independent; meaning gardeners can grow whatever they want in their space – food, flowers, herbs, etc. Last year, one senior Burmese gardener grew 1,200 garlic plants during winter in one of the high tunnels. This specific type of garlic, a staple in the Burmese diet, was shared with the entire Burmese community here in Springfield – a community that includes nearly 1,000 residents.
In addition to providing food for individuals’ homes, Ken shared that last fall many growers partnered with Mama Jean’s Natural Market & Deli to sell produce in the store. Ken says they will continue to strengthen that partnership and are developing a Stanford Street Produce brand, which is expected to be on store shelves this year and available at local pop-up markets.
NEW BEDS & RESOURCES
This spring, volunteers are rebuilding 75 garden beds that are wearing out after six years of use. Additionally, the irrigation system is being upgraded. The East Stanford plots often fill up quickly, but the interest continues to grow. To help meet this need, Springfield Community Gardens has secured another location at Covenant Presbyterian Church on Lone Pine. Growers from the East Stanford Garden will be a supportive resource for this new space.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
If you enjoy working outside or in a garden, it is a great time to get involved. We need volunteers to help with rebuilding garden boxes, refurbishing the gazebo, and more. Workdays and garden updates will be shared on the East Stanford Garden Facebook page. If you are interested in a 2023 plot or have questions, you can also email Ken Bass at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Mary Beth in the Schweitzer office.
Schweitzer Church’s mission is to transform lives by making disciples of Jesus Christ. Matthew 28:19-20 We live out our mission by being a church that is Christ Centered and Community Focused. We Worship Together. We Care for One Another. We Are Engaged in Formation. We Engage in Evangelism. We Serve Out Community. We Pursue Healing.