April 16, 2009

Community garden idea trying to grow

By Brenda L. Shelkey

Will a community garden work in the city of Washburn? The seed has been planted and now citizens of Washburn are being asked to help the idea grow. The whole idea of community gardens isn’t new. After World War I and World War II, post-war gardens were encouraged and became known as victory gardens. Today, advocates of the idea include Michelle Obama who has planned a similar garden which will be planted on the grounds of the White House. The Washington, D.C. garden will be growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs which will be used by the White House chefs for the first family, but also used to benefit others who are without during this time of economic need. For Washburn, the idea is the brain child of Master Gardener Michelle Effertz, who is also the McLean County Extension Agent, and Carlene Mulder, a newcomer to Washburn, but who holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture. She moved to Washburn when her husband began working at the Coal Creek Station. "The idea of a neighborhood garden or community garden isn’t new," said Mulder, "but, the idea of growing a community garden is really coming back because not everybody has the space to grow a garden if they live in town." The benefits of establishing a community garden are many, so much so that Bismarck has a community garden on the river bottoms north of Bismarck. Grant County began a similar garden in the Carson-Elgin area. The list of benefits include getting good exercise, bringing community together, meeting new people, lowering food costs, providing healthy, fresh produce, and just plain old getting back to family roots and connecting with children or grandchildren.


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