Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Community gardens taking shape!

Numerous communities throughout Faribault, Martin and Watonwan Counties are initiating community gardens to help provide opportunities for fresh produce in our communities. Additionally, a number of resources are being developed to help lower income residents access locally grown produce.

Faribault County
The Wells Community Garden, located at The Haven, is beginning its second year and has added an additional 10 plots and 11 new families will be gardening. A garden blog has been set up for gardeners to be able to ask questions and keep updated on events and classes scheduled. Minnesota Green, a part of the Minnesota Horticulture Society provided hundreds of seed packets for use in public/community spaces and all community gardeners in Faribault, Martin and Watonwan Counties benefitted. The Wells Community Garden will be working with the City of Wells HRA to provide Earth boxes for gardening in public housing settings. Additionally, the farmers’ market is being promoted and expanded in Wells with advertising for new vendors. New signage is being provided to advertise hours and direct shoppers to the market. Fresh produce vouchers are being offered to the Wells Area Food Shelf and WIC participants.

Martin County
A new community garden is being established on land near Heritage Meadows in Fairmont. 200 20x20 plots are available to the community. Additionally, a new campaign, ‘I’ve gone Local!’, is being launched to encourage people to support local foods by utilizing farmers’ markets in the county. Vouchers will be available for low income families to help provide locally grown foods through famers’ market programs. For more information about the Fairmont Community Garden, contact Linda Meschke at or by phone at 507-238-5449. Additionally, Martin County 4-H is establishing garden clubs to oversee box gardens at various sites throughout the Fairmont Community. For more information on the 4-H project, contact Rachael Janssen at 507-235-3341.

Watonwan County
The University of Minnesota Extension in Watonwan County continues to expand community gardens throughout the county. Gardens are available in St. James, Butterfield and Madelia. If you don't have the green space for a garden, check out the gardens in a box in the mobile home park in St. James. These gardens are a great opportunity to bring the community together, increase access to nutritious foods, and to increase physical activity. If you're having a hard time growing those tomato plants, don't hesitate to ask for help from the team of Master Gardeners. To learn more about these gardens, contact Kathy Lillevold, U of M Extension Coordinator at 507-375-1275 or St. James Farmers Market is starting out with a new breath of fresh air this summer! Looking for fresh fruit and veggies? Stop on down to the St. James Farmers Market--downtown parking lot, located in between the VFW and the Legion. Want to sell your own home produce? Contact Molly Westman or Jake Sturm- Farmers Market Coordinators at, or

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