Rose Ellen Schneider, River Valley Area Community Gardens
In rural South Central Wisconsin, many communities are establishing community gardens for their residents. Why? Many people have a desire to get back to nature and grow their own food in a healthy, non-chemical environment but don’t have the space for a garden at their dwelling.
The River Valley Area Community Gardens, Inc is excited for the 2021 gardening season. Gardening was so popular last year that our family units jumped from 14 in 2019 to 26 including 3 student gardeners in 2020. As a result, 18 additional plots have been added on the west side of the Gardens which are located at 900 N. Westmor on the northwest side of the Village of Spring Green a block off of highway 14 behind Ring Brothers Classic Auto.
Registration is now open for garden plots. Plot sizes vary. Rental fees for first time community gardeners are $30 for a 400 square foot plot, $20 for a 200 square foot plot and $10 for a 100 square foot plot. The rental fee is for the duration of the season and includes water, tilling, irrigation, compost and marsh hay mulch.
Free plots are available for low income families, the elderly, and the unemployed. Qualifications for free plots include qualifying for QUEST, SNAP, TANF, SSI, free or reduced school lunch programs, or local food pantry services.
A student gardening program has been organized to develop gardeners of the future. Currently any student who lives within the boundaries of the River Valley School District may rent a plot free of charge. Parental permission must be provided. Special student registration forms are available on the web site. Additional programming is being planned to introduce young students to nature and the environment through gardening experiences.
In development is an Enabling Garden of raised beds for people who are physically challenged. More information will be available as the Garden is created.
Any resident of the River Valley School District may rent one or more plots for personal, non commercial garden space at the RVACG. The RVACG practices organic gardening methods. Mentoring from experienced gardeners is available for beginning gardeners.
People who need more information or want registration forms are invited to drive by the Gardens to see what the plots look like and ask questions through the Gardens’ Facebook page, the web site at rvacg.org, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 608-588-6040.
Paper copies of the registration forms are also available in the INFO box at the gardens.
The Community Garden provides a place for you to have your own garden without tearing up your lawn. It is a great place for people who live in a duplex, a condo, an apartment or have a small lot or a shady yard to plant a garden. The Community Garden provides a tiller, and tools if the gardener doesn’t own them. It also provides a place of community, a chance for people to get to know others in the community and enjoy being outdoors. The list goes on.
Working in a garden plot provides exercise for the body, helps relieve stress and increase a person’s sense of wellness. Gardening builds a sense of worth and pride as beautiful fruits and vegetables are harvested to serve to your family and friends. Having a garden plot is a bit of work but it is fun also. And, the best part of having a plot in a community garden may be the recipes that are exchanged while visiting with other gardeners. Yum!