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Gardening Plots Available With FYI

Planting season is here, and FYI’s Gardening for Health group is growing … in more ways than one.

Gardening for Health is a community garden where volunteers can plant in family or community plots in New Carlisle. In 2020, the program is expanding the number of volunteers and the planting area.

FYI ended last year’s growing season with five volunteers for family plots but have eight signed up for a plot in 2020 so far. There’s plenty of room for more as well, said Gardening For Health Director Jim Tipton. Volunteers can sign up for plots as individuals or as a group of people who want to garden together.

“It’s going to be 14,000-15,000 square feet of growing area, up from 12,000 last year,” Tipton said. 

FYI’s community gardeners were able to harvest more than 1,300 pounds of produce above and beyond the harvest from the family plots in 2019, donating it all to the Park Layne Food Pantry. Tipton volunteers there as well, and also helps out Second Harvest Food Bank year-round. Second Harvest comes to New Carlisle once a month, and Jim helps distribute the food.

“The goal for 2020 is now 2,000 donated pounds,” Tipton said. 

He’s already seen how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for food, and it is anticipated that the demand will grow even greater as 2020 progresses. That is a big part of the motivation to increase the goal.

“I don’t think that it has hit yet, but I’m thinking in the next few weeks we’ll see that spike even more,” Jim said.

The mission of the community garden is to allow families to grow healthy food for themselves on their personal plots, and for their community on our community plots. Jim and other volunteers assist and educate the volunteer gardeners. The rest of the unplotted growing area is planted for the community, and that produce goes to the food bank.

“The volunteers help out with the community plots while they are there,” Jim said. “It is truly a team effort.”

If you want to grow your own or help the community garden, email Tipton at or call the FYI office at (937) 845-0403.

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