ISHPEMING - Last year, the lot was just extra parking space for the Grace Episcopal Church.
This year that same lot is divided into 18 individual garden plots, forming the Ishpeming Community Garden.
Now well into the planting season, garden organizers say the project is growing well.
Last year, it was extra parking space. This year, it’s growing space for vegetables and flowers. The Ishpeming Community Garden near Grace Episcopal Church is well into its first growing season. The garden group’s mission is to boost the availability of fresh, locally-grown foods and to help build a sense of community. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
"We wanted to start small this year," said garden chairperson Sally Collins. "The response from the community was very good."
With the possibility of increasing the number of plots next year, Collins said the current 6-foot by 12-foot plots filled up fairly quickly.
For $20 per season, gardeners have access to their plot, mulch, a water source and a tool shed.
So far, radishes and various types of greens have been growing well in the new garden, which is expected to be held again in future years.
Currently garden organizers are working to erect a fence surrounding the property to keep local wildlife out of the vegetables.
"The bunnies are loving it at the moment," Collins said with a laugh.
The garden, Collins said, not only helps those who participate in it to increase their intake of locally-grown foods, but also helps build a sense of community.
"It helps people learn how good vegetables are," she said. "When I first moved up here I was appalled at the lack of interest in vegetables."
Since moving here 11 years ago, however, Collins said she has seen that interest in healthy, local foods grow.
"It's wonderful," she said.
Late last year, the garden received $2,000 from the Marquette County Health Department to get started.
For more information on the garden or how to sign up for a plot for next season, contact Collins at 906-486-7195.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.