A community garden that Evergreen’s Alliance for Sustainability has been planning for the past several months is in the final approval stages.
The pilot garden planned on a third of an acre at Buchanan Park is designed to offer residents and organizational sponsors 28 plots where they can grow vegetables and other plants.
Rachel Emmer, EAS+Y president, has been working with the Evergreen Park and Recreation District on details of the community garden since December. EAS+Y is responsible for the cost of the site development and the garden’s maintenance, Emmer said.
Included in the project is the renovation of two buildings that will be used for storage and gardening workshops and storage, said Emmer. Native shrubbery will provide an attractive buffer around the garden area, she added.
“We envision a gathering place for the larger shed, for gardening workshops,” Emmer said.
At the May 22 EPRD board meeting, when EAS+Y is scheduled to make a final presentation, Emmer said the organization will ask for three things: a landowner agreement and memorandum of understanding; a partnership with EPRD for the renovation of the two sheds on the property; and an extension of the 50 percent discount on water use that the rec district receives from the Evergreen Metropolitan District.
EPRD executive director Scott Robson will make a recommendation regarding the community garden project, and the EPRD board then will take a formal vote.
While discussing the project’s implementation, Emmer said she is hoping to form partnerships with community organizations for the buildings, which are part of the Fahnenstiel homestead dating from the early 1900s.
“One of the things we see here is the opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity,” Emmer said. Renovating the buildings using reclaimed materials found at Habitat’s ReStore shop is a possibility, she added.
In addition to the building renovations, costs of the community garden project include water service installation and a tap fee. Another cost will be placing an 8-foot deer and elk fence around the garden to keep out wildlife.
Once the garden is established, operational costs will be offset by rent that people will pay for the individual plots, according to Emmer.
“Twenty of the plots we have allocated for individuals and families,” she said. The water cost will be included in the rental fee.
“We expect cash from rentals will cover ongoing maintenance,” Emmer said.
People who rent plots will provide their own plants and will be required to use organic gardening practices, said Emmer. However, there is no requirement for using non-genetically modified seeds.
“We’ll be doing soil testing,” said Emmer, who noted that the garden site previously has been used for agriculture. The site is in an area with ample sunlight and access to water, she said.
At a recent open house for the community garden project, “overwhelming positive” support was expressed, Emmer said
A survey that EAS+Y conducted to determine the level of interest for the community garden to which more than 60 people responded also received 100 percent “yes” responses, Emmer noted.
“Let’s get this thing rolling,” was the spirit of the comments, she said.
Contact reporter Sandy Barnes at HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-350-1042.