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April 11, 2021

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City cultivates garden locations

Vancouver opens more space for community plots

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Look out Bono: Community gardens are the hottest ticket in town.

Last year, Vancouver’s 200 community garden plots sold out in just four hours. Turns out, folks in Clark County interested in growing their own groceries seem to be cropping up faster than the pesky dandelions their brothers-in-dirt lament.

So for this growing season, the city has added new plots and beds to its four existing community gardens, and is opening the new 24-plot Haagen Community Park Garden on Northeast Ninth Street. The work is covered by a $5,000 grant from the Parks Foundation of Clark County and $40,000 in city funding.

The city is also hosting a forum Tuesday for those interested in starting even more public gardens, this time in their neighborhood parks.

“It’s a pretty hot topic right now — buying local food, growing your own food and getting in touch with your roots,” said Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation manager Jane Tesner Kleiner, apologizing for the pun.

To meet huge demand, the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation Department has added a fifth community garden site and is also working with neighborhoods to start gardens in parks.

To meet huge demand, the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation Department has added a fifth community garden site and is also working with neighborhoods to start gardens in parks.

o Forum: A forum for those interested in starting a food garden in their neighborhood park will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Luepke Center Community Room, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.

o Community garden registration: Returning gardeners can register beginning Feb. 16; new gardeners on Feb. 22. Register at the Marshall Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.

o Growing Groceries: A Washington State University class for those interested in gardening basics and mentorship begins Jan. 23. Cost is $50 for four four-hour sessions. To register, visit https://ocrs.wsu.edu/Signup/?eventid=585.

o Forum: A forum for those interested in starting a food garden in their neighborhood park will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Luepke Center Community Room, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.

o Community garden registration: Returning gardeners can register beginning Feb. 16; new gardeners on Feb. 22. Register at the Marshall Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.

o Growing Groceries: A Washington State University class for those interested in gardening basics and mentorship begins Jan. 23. Cost is $50 for four four-hour sessions. To register, visit https://ocrs.wsu.edu/Signup/?eventid=585.

The results stem from a community meeting held last April, where more than 125 people said they wanted more space in which to garden and more help on getting started, she said.

And starting Jan. 23, Washington State University Vancouver, Clark County Public Health and others are presenting “Growing your own Groceries,” a class on how to get those tomatoes and potatoes to prosper.

“A lot of people have this fear when it comes to gardening. It can be somewhat intimidating for a newcomer,” said Ariel Rivers, AmeriCorps garden coordinator with the county. “At same time, it’s something people can do very easily in backyards to save money or increase health.”

For $50, the class will educate green thumb wannabes on soil, watering, plant selection and pest control in four four-hour sessions, she said. Participants will also learn to mentor others in their neighborhoods or community gardens, Rivers said.

Tesner Kleiner said all of the new spots and classes reflect the nationwide interest in homegrown food.

“It’s just really exciting to see this community is engaged in creating local access to food,” she said.

Outside of Vancouver, Clark County is expanding its community garden at Washington State University Vancouver to allow more gardeners, Tesner Kleiner said.

Along with adding more plots, the city has increased the variety of plots available. This year, gardeners can choose from 10-by-10 foot plots or standard 20-by-20 foot gardens.

The cost is $40 for the larger plots, and $20 for the smaller. Some raised beds and containers are available as well.

Vancouver’s five community gardens are: the Haagen Community Park Garden; the Marshall Community Park Garden, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.; the Campus Garden at Campus Drive and 65th Avenue; and the Ellsworth Road Garden at S.E. 10th Street and Ellsworth Road.

Registration starts Feb. 16 for returning gardeners and Feb. 22 for newcomers.

Early lettuces and root vegetables can go in as soon as mid-April, when the city tills the soil.

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-5422 or andrea.damewood@columbian.com.

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