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Idea blossoms into community garden

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By Bryan Marshall

A seed of an idea has grown into a community garden that will help feed those in need in Grant County.

The Grant County Fiscal Court, Grant County Extension Service, along with the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission and the Vineyard Church of Grant County, have joined to plant a more than 1-acre community garden on the grounds of the county maintenance facility on Hopperton Lane in Dry Ridge.

The goal is to be the source of fresh vegetables that will be made available to families in need through programs at the Vineyard Church and Community Action Commission.

The Grant County Extension Office also will provide nutritional education and cooking classes.

“Through this program we will not only be able to feed around 100 families in our community, but we are incorporating programs that provide education about nutrition and sustainable growth,” said Rebecca Hampton of Vineyard Church. “The community garden brings together people from all over Grant County and puts them into relationship with each other. By doing this we are building stronger families, neighborhoods and people. It’s about more that feeding those in need. It’s about growing a community around a common goal to do good.”

The origin for the garden began when Vanessa Rose, Grant County community service coordinator, brought up the idea during a Community Collaborative meeting.

Hampton, who had heard interest from other local organizations, then contacted Rose about partnering on the project.

“In a time that food pantries are struggling to provide for the needs, it just made sense to plant a garden and distribute to families and senior citizens fresh vegetables and fruits,” said Rose.

More than 4,000 plants are already planted in the ground, including tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumber, zucchini, yellow squash, lima beans and sweet potatoes with watermelon, spaghetti squash and hundreds of other plants still to go.

Volunteers work on the garden an average of three days per week on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Supplies also are needed, said Hampton.

“We are still in need of wheel barrows, garden wagons, garden tools and a shed,” she said. “And of course, hands. The biggest thing we need is people to work the garden. We will be planting for the next week or so and then we will start watering and weeding.”

Any individual or organization that would like to partner to help with the community garden can call Rose at 823-2345 or 859- 393-7099 or e-mail grantcountygarden@gmail.com.

Additional information can be found online at www.vineyardgc.com/community-garden.html.

“This is the first year and we are learning as we go what works for us and what doesn’t,” said Rose. “We hope to add groups of volunteers from other organizations and businesses in the future to sponsor a vegetable or fruit. It is only by the help of everyone that this is manageable, and we hope to expand to other locations in the future.”