First Annual Gardener Orientation and Potluck… Success!

Last Sunday, April 7th, the McFarland Community Garden and the United Church of Christ hosted the first annual Gardener Orientation and Potluck.  We had expected perhaps 50 participants, but we were pleasantly surprised by an enthusiastic turnout of OVER 75 folks!!  We enjoyed a bounty of delicious food and made big plans for our community garden.  All photos are courtesy of Holly Ceelen.

Bill Stoneman, the Garden Registrar, kept busy with organizing applications, plot payments, and mulch orders.
Bill Stoneman, the Garden Registrar, kept busy with organizing applications, plot payments, and mulch orders.
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Kerri Parker, UCC Pastor, welcomed gardeners and offered a blessing before the meal.
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Holly Basford, Autumn Sabo, and Katie Gletty-Syoen.
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Keeping Busy in the Kitchen!!

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Garden Tool Drive

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We are so pleased to announce the “marriage” of McFarland Community Garden and enthusiastic village gardeners.  If you would like to celebrate the union by showering this new gardening family with gifts, you may check out our “Garden Registry” at our local McFarland True Value store.  Ask a sales associate about the McFarland Community Garden wishlist to see all of the items that we need to get growing…

All donations are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE!  You can submit your information at purchase to receive a formal receipt to file for a deduction.

McFarland True Value will have a drop box for all donations of new and gently used garden tools for the McFarland Community Garden.

If you have some gently used garden tools at your business or residence and you would like to have them picked up, please contact us at Katiegs@McFarlandCommunityGarden.com.  We would be happy to arrange for pick up that is convenient for you!

Here is a partial list of the materials we are looking for:

Long Handled Shovels

Hoes

Hand Trowels

Hand Shovels

100′ lengths of 5/8″ Gardening Hose

Hard Garden Rakes

Pitch Fork (2)

Wheelbarrow (2)

Leaf Rakes

Gardening Gloves

Children’s Gardening Tools

Yard Sticks

 

 

 

Show Your Support for the McFarland Community Garden!

As the Spring Rains begin to wash away the snow, hope for a McFarland Community Garden is blossoming!  After months of designs, discussions, research, and negotiations, our “Day in the Sun” may soon arrive 🙂

The McFarland Village Board will be voting on the proposal for the garden this Monday, March 11th at 7pm.  Make your voice heard if you value a community garden space in our village, by attending the meeting, or contacting the Village of McFarland Trustees.

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Our Garden Plan is Evolving

The updated garden plan
The updated garden plan

The McFarland Community Garden is growing from a simple seed of an idea that was planted last summer. Even amidst this bitter, snowy winter, beautiful things can GROW!

We have high hopes that we will be able to get our hands in the dirt this Spring 2013.

Here is the plan for our first season:
21 Individual Plots (20′ x 20′)
4 Adaptive Plots (to be constructed during our first season)
Pumpkin Patch for our Harvest Festival
4-H Youth Garden Playground

As soon as we have final approval for the garden, we will be accepting applications for plots…keep checking back for updates!!

Community Garden Idea Gaining Some Ground

Katie Gletty-Syoen works on her garden at her Johnson Street home. She is spearheading an effort to create a community garden in the village, in which residents can rent plots.

Check out the article in our local newspaper, The McFarland Thistle

I was honored to have the opportunity to chat with a journalist from our local paper about the Community Garden plans!  Read the article here.

There is one correction….The garden is slated to be situated between the McFarland United Church of Christ and The Homestead, a housing complex (NOT A CEMETERY).  The rear border of the proposed garden plot is the Lower McFarland Cemetery.  I am asking that the editors of The Thistle make note of that correction in the next issue.

Our Proposed Garden Site

Hello Aspiring Community Gardeners!

Progress is being made for the creation of a Village of McFarland Community Garden, and I harbor high hopes that we will be able to dig in to a beautiful space this spring!   A possible site has been established at the green space on Anthony Street in downtown McFarland.  This is a plot of gently rolling land that stretches between the McFarland United Church of Christ and The Homestead housing complex.

Currently, the proposal and preliminary design have been approved by the McFarland United Church of Christ (owners of property) and the Village of McFarland Parks Department.  Next, the proposal will be presented to the Village Board for final approval.  Then, we can start the really fun work of turning this dream into a reality!

At this point, we need to develop a committee of folks who are interested in designing, implementing and maintaining this Community Garden.  I would like to schedule a meeting for people who want to contribute their ideas, skills, and talents so that we can work together to make this project as successful as possible.  Please contact me if you are interested in volunteering to be a member of the committee!

There are many fabulous “perks” that made this particular plot a stellar candidate for the future home of the Community Garden including:

  • full sun for all of the heat-loving veggies and flowers
  • relatively flat terrain with no requirements for terracing
  • adequate size for optimal usage
  • short distance to public facilities (McFarland Municipal Center and E.D. Locke Library) for restrooms, drinking water, and cooling/warming area
  • easy walking distance to a multitude of residential, commercial, and community buildings.

What I personally find most exciting about this space is the accessibility for a wide variety of residents in this community.  In fact, this project has been specifically created with an emphasis on bringing a diverse group of people together to help our community to grow and thrive.  Here are some ways that this garden space can serve as the catalyst for neighborhood and community enhancement:

  1. Youth Gardens:  A portion of the green space will be created as a “Youth Garden Playground,” sponsored by our local McFarland Sparks 4-H Club.  This inter-active, growing wonderland will encourage children of all ages to discover the beauty of nature through exploration and education.  Structures will be designed with a child’s sense of wonder in mind.  Some examples of this area include: a variety of plants that offer a stimulating sensory experience; cozy spaces such as sunflower houses and bean teepees; a “hunt for worms” digging space; a mini-veggie tasting garden; a “Three Sisters” Native American plot; and a pollination station with plantings designed to keep our helper insects happy.  We hope to use this garden as an educational experience for the students in McFarland Schools, especially since this plot will be within easy walking distance of both the McFarland Primary and Waubesa Intermediate Campuses.
  2. Adaptive Gardens:  A section of the community garden has been allocated for specially-designed adaptive structures for our residents with special needs.  This area will be located closest to the sidewalks and handicapped parking spaces.  The Adaptive Garden will include extra-wide pathways, 3 foot raised garden beds, and vertical gardening trellises, to allow for the easiest access for residents who find traditional gardening methods challenging or cumbersome.
  3. Individual or Family Plots:  By far, the largest area of the Community Garden is for individual or family plots.  These plots are 20′ by 20′ growing areas that can be reserved for a growing season for a fee.  The fee will cover the use of communal tools, water resources, compost, and hay for mulching.  During the growing season, plot gardeners can grow a bounty of veggies, fruits and flowers.
  4. Low Income Support:  We hope to make this project accessible for all families in our community.  Plot fees will be assessed on a sliding fee scale.  All garden tools and implements will be made available communally for all community gardeners, and stored at a central garden storage shed.  Programs are being developed to provide seeds and seedlings at a very low to no cost for the individuals who need them.  Additionally, we hope to partner with the McFarland Food Pantry to promote a “Plant a Row for the Hungry” program to generate donations of fresh vegetables to our local food pantry.
  5. Garden Steward Program:  To make this program successful, we need the whole community to embrace this public growing and meeting space.  Therefore, we are developing a Garden Steward Program for our community groups and organizations.  Any group can participate in this outreach opportunity by volunteering to “steward” our garden for a week, a month, or a season.  This could be to design, plant, and maintain flower borders; clean and maintain tools; build benches; fix fences; etc, etc.

Currently, I am working with the Village of McFarland Parks Department to address the “nuts and bolts” of the space, such as leasing, liability, and water accessibility.  Once we have all of these systems addressed, we can start thinking of the really important questions, such as “How many different varieties of tomatoes do I want to grow?”