Letter to the Editor

 


Editor,

There seems to be some confusion around our town about the cost the town bears for the Community Garden. I was not part of the ordinance developed by the last administration and Voices of the Valley in 2011 that created the Community Garden, but am an original member.

The ordinance provided for development of the Town property where the Garden stands and a typical budgetary process and a Board. The Town put in the water tap and two frost-free water spigots and provides the water. The Town also volunteered to put up the greenhouse. Indirectly the Garden space is apportioned a percentage of the Town attorney, professional fees, and the Town insurance. The Town also budgets $500 for advertising and for supplies. Our rental fees bring in a small sum.

When you drive by the Community Garden everything you see was either donated or paid for by grants, foundations, donors to the Garden, or NRCS. The Alamedas built the fence with the Crimmins and Schwerdt families and many many volunteers. Shivelys and BuildRite have been generous. Glenn and Joe at NRCS donated all the fruit trees and outside junipers and their watering systems. We are growing University of Wyoming heritage apple trees. The list of all the hard working volunteers, or the donated materials to date, is too long for here. The greenhouse, all the beds and soil and perennial plants and seeds that are there now, came from the first Department of Ag USDA grant and The Storer Foundation. The new USDA grant, over $19,000, pays to build and plant 2 large beds in the garden and 4 fenced pollinator beds outside the garden. It also pays for 3 part-time high school students’ salaries for 2 years to compare specialty crop growth under different conditions, and to survey local pollinators.


We have asked the Town to put in one more frost-free spigot to water the 2 new large beds, and continue receiving free water. We are grateful for their support, and for being the Saratoga Community Garden fiscal sponsor for the second USDA grant. We are the only municipality that received one of these grants this year.

In return, we have for years donated a bed, seeds and plants to the Saratoga elementary summer school group, as we did for The Hub before they built their own gardens. We host the Teton Science Camp. The Saratoga Care Center now has a bed (and will have seeds and plants) and we plan and hope, to grow enough produce in the new large beds, to bring to the Saratoga Care Center, as fresh produce is too costly to buy. If we have more than they need (think zucchinis) we will bring it to the Farmers Market. We are beginning a relationship with the Friends of the Library’s new seed savers program.

Please stop by. It’s a very busy place in May, and we can answer all your questions. We will have fun events like a tour of Norm Heater’s garden in August, a pollinator bed tour, and a Garden to Table dinner when we have enough to cook (you don’t have to rent a bed to come). We encourage all gardeners in the Community Garden and in town to bring produce to the Carbon County Fair on Sunday, August 7th, and we’ll help you win prizes. We have wonderful Honeycrisp apple trees and elderberries ready to plant. We just planted the German butterballs, shelling peas and Copra onion sets before the rain on Sunday night. We might still have 1 or 2 beds left to rent.

Thanks, Cindy Bloomquist and the Saratoga Community Garden Board

 

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