MARQUETTE - A group of volunteers has taken the first steps to sprouting a new community garden in the area.
The Marquette Township Community Garden got its start this past week at the former Vandenboom Elementary School, where the YMCA of Marquette County and the Marquette Area Public Schools are providing space for the garden to put down roots.
"When Marquette Township did their strategic planning last year, they heard a lot of people wanting a community garden," said Deanna Sved, chairwoman of the Marquette Township Beautification Committee and organizer of the community garden. "We finally got it under way."
Deanna Sved, chairwoman of the Marquette Township Beautification Committee, and volunteer Alec Lindsay, work to construct the first raised bed of the township’s community garden on Tuesday. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)
Tuesday, volunteers held a first work day, beginning construction and layout of the garden beds. Although from a planting standpoint it is late to be starting a gardening effort, Sved said the timing is good for preparing the soil and the garden beds to be able to start planting next year.
"When you look at soil prep, it's not a bad thing," she said. "We can prep the soil and be ready for next spring."
While the group is still in its early stages, the garden committee is planning for 10 large beds, measuring 12 feet by 6 feet, in addition to a dozen smaller beds that were established during a previous gardening effort by the Y. The group is still working to form its bylaws, regulations and fees, but Sved said the garden is intended to work much in the same manner as other area community gardens - providing area residents with a place to grow their own organic fruits and vegetables.
Tuesday, volunteers worked together to construct the first of the raised beds. The rectangular beds are then pounded into the ground and filled with compost and soil for planting.
"We have the approach, 'build it and they will come,'" Sved said of what will be an effort to attract attention to the project and gather members and volunteers.
For those who are already involved, the community garden is an eagerly anticipated part of bringing more local food to Marquette Township.
"There have been a few of us who have been anxious to have a garden," said volunteer and garden committee member Alec Lindsay. "Not everyone has space to grow their own food. It's beneficial both for health benefits and the social benefits of understanding where your food comes from."
Because many of the lots and lawns that make up Marquette Township are wooded or rocky, Sved said she expected there to be a lot of demand for the community garden plots.
Those interested in helping out or learning more about the garden can contact Sved through the Marquette Township Hall at 906-228-6220.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.