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Community gardens beginning to thrive this summer

George Lueck adds pansies to the community garden in Akeley to add some color as the vegetables begin to sprout. The garden was made possible because of a Statewide Health Improvement Program grant. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Community gardens have begun to sprout this summer throughout Hubbard County.

Gardens have been planted at River Heights Apartments and Cornerstone Apartments in Park Rapids, along with Akeley and Laporte. Trees were planted in Nevis.

The gardens were funded by a Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grant.

Diane Brophy, St. Joseph's public health nurse, is working to implement the SHIP grant. The idea for the community gardens is to have a place people in the community to have access to fresh vegetables and flowers.

Interested gardeners had to sign up for plots in each community.

In Akeley, George Lueck with the Horizons group was instrumental in getting the garden tilled, fenced in and ready to go. He had help from Sue Jones, Bea Dybson and the Hardegree family in getting the fence up.

"This wouldn't have happened without the SHIP money," Lueck said.

The Akeley garden is located by the Akeley Regional Community Center.

Georgie Barnett is one of the individuals taking advantage of the community garden. She said without this opportunity she probably wouldn't have a vegetable garden.

She and her daughter, Janet Sheets, planted a variety of produce, including tomatoes, turnips, peas, green beans, squash, broccoli and flowers.

"We'll have a lot of fresh vegetables to eat this year," Barnett said.

In Park Rapids, Addie Harvala and Mary Rittenhouse are two of the gardeners at the River Heights Apartments garden.

They're nervous about deer or other animals eating their produce but hope a fence will keep the vegetables safe.

Raised beds were added to the garden at River Heights so residents won't have to bend over as far to plant and weed.

Melody Boettcher, manager of Cornerstone Apartments, works with Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. She started a garden outside the apartments for residents to help with.

A total of $4,000 in grant money was awarded to each of the communities through the SHIP program.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561