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Community gardeners wrap up another successful season

The goal for FYI’s community gardeners was lofty: 2,000 pounds of fresh produce donated to local food pantries in 2020 after giving away 1,300 pounds in 2019. The growing season has ended and the goal has been reached … and much more.

This year’s community gardeners donated 1,122 pounds of produce to Bethel Churches United’s New Carlisle Food Pantry and 932 pounds more of veggies to the Park Layne Food Pantry, for a total donated amount of 2,054 pounds.

“I tried to split it up evenly because both of them do great work in the community,” said Gardening For Health Director Jim Tipton.

There were nine families who tended plots for their own produce during the 2020 season, also an increase from last season. Most also pitched in on the community plots.

“I was really happy,” said Tipton of the results. “All of the gardeners were really proud of what they did. The biggest challenge was not having the right equipment to do the job. A tractor, plow and tiller would come in handy.”

More community donors are helping as well. Among them is charity-minded Henderson Turf, which donated the use of the land, and The Plastic Lumber Store in Springfield, which donated materials for a second water bench.

“It helped a bunch because now we have water on both sides of the garden,” said Tipton, who added that the gardeners have to carry water from the barrels. If your plot was on the opposite end of the garden when there was just the one water bench, you had a lot longer walk.

Other donating entities included United Way of Clark, Champaign & Madison Counties, Gateway Business Group, New Carlisle Rotary Club, Clark County Combined Health District, OSU Extension Clark County and the Clark County Solid Waste District.

Tipton is already planning ahead for next year, and looking for more families to join. Anyone interested can call (937) 845-0403.

“The biggest thing is getting leaves and manure down to add nutrients back into the ground, which I just finished,” he said. “The soil is naturally hard. You have to add stuff into it to break it up a little bit. Roots can’t go as deep if you don’t.”

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