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Sprouting a community effort

Garden brings together Adriel youths, area residents


ABOVE: From the left, Josh Shoemaker, Adriel chaplain Erin Dye, an Adriel youth, and Jarrod Shoemaker work together Wednesday afternoon in the West Liberty Community Garden Project at Adriel to lay mulch to designate individual plots in the garden space. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Some marigolds have been planted in one plot of the West Liberty Community Garden Project at Adriel, providing protection from pests and also a pop of color in the garden that thus far has not sprouted many vegetables or flowers at this early point in the gardening season. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR)

Wednesday afternoon’s warm temperatures, sunny skies and cool breezes provided an ideal time for those involved with the West Liberty Community Garden Project at Adriel to break out their trowels and other tools and get to work.

This garden is in its third growing season at this location, and it provides both a learning opportunity for Adriel youths and also a space for area residents to set up their own plots for growing fresh vegetables, herbs and other items.

Oak Grove Mennonite Church helped to start this growing initiative about five years ago, beginning with a garden at a community member’s home.

“It was a nice space, but it wasn’t as accessible for others in the community since it was in a resident’s backyard,” said Alex Dye, Oak Grove Mennonite associate pastor, who was working in the garden Wednesday.

So three years ago, the community garden was moved to Adriel at 414 N. Detroit Street, West Liberty, in an area next to the campus greenhouse.

Nine local families currently have signed up to work a space this year. Garden plots are still available for interested gardeners who live in the area, with the only stipulation that they follow organic growing practices.

“We’re really hoping to get some more community participation through this project,” Mr. Dye said.

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