The Gift of Gardening
By JUSTINE WILTSE, Two Rivers Tribune Contributing Writer
What is food to you? Is it something you just buy and eat to survive? Is food something you cherish and love, feeding your brain as it nourishes your body? There are so many different choices to make: what to eat, when to eat, or even with whom to eat. A generation ago, food was simple.
In geographic areas like the Klamath-Trinity region, we are fortunate to be surrounded by farmers and elders who know the old way to eat—healthy. People are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of community gardening and research shows that gardening is a healing art.
Beautiful community gardens are springing up in all Klamath-Trinity communities. All across the nation people are becoming aware of the need to grow good, healthy food. People everywhere are reviving and teaching the skills of their grandparents who knew all the little tricks of nurturing, harvesting, and preserving tasty fruits and vegetables.
Tom O’Gorman of Trinity River Farm spent many years using his farm to teach gardening skills to students from Trinity Valley Elementary School (TVES). He maintained a pumpkin patch below the school for the students and community. Once again, it’s planted and pumpkins will emerge with bright orange flesh in just a couple of short months.
Thanks to a grant from Department of Health and Human Services, and the Cal Fresh Initiatives, a garden is being developed at Trinity Valley Elementary School (TVES).
The garden is dedicated to Judy Ammon whose dream to have a teaching garden at the TVES is finally being realized. Including as many people as possible makes this community garden a true success. Teaching these skills to the youth of today will produce healthier and smarter adults of tomorrow.
While being both fun and helpful to the family budget, farming is also a survival skill. Survival skills like these should never be forgotten or lost in time.
There have been so many people and organizations willing and excited to help get this garden growing. The Willow Creek Community Resource Center, Dream Quest, Head Start- North Coast Childrens’ Services, The First Five Playgroup, and Playschool have all expressed interest in working the new garden. St. Joseph Health is administering a small grant which is providing some of the materials. There are wonderful contributors from the community who have provided some needed ingredients for this summer’s initial effort. Donations like these keep the sense of community alive.
Wade Ammon brought his heavy equipment to level and prepare the area. Whitson’s Plumbing donated the filter fabric, black felt-like fabric meant for weed control.
Chad Waters at Royal Gold in McKinleyville donated a pallet of incredible soil. This soil is producing watermelons, chard, squash, tomatoes, and cabbages. You can almost see them growing.
Fred and Allysa of Luna Farms donated the tomato starts. Another person who volunteered their time and energy transplanting and helping with the set-up of the garden is Hugh Johnson.
Also, the Card family came: Heidi, Julian, Mina, Angel and Eric. They transplanted and barrowed the soil over to the garden site.
Students and employees of Trinity Valley Elementary School made beautiful colorful planting boxes, brightly painted for longer life.
Tori Michaud, Americorps Member at the Willow Creek Community Resource Center has been the daily garden tender. Tori is enthusiastic and a key contributor to this garden. She is there early and late, watering and shooing off deer and ground squirrels with her presence. With people like Tori, this garden will keep growing.
As Tom O’Gorman once said, “The sign of a good gardener is their footprints.” The next huge step in the development of the garden will be fence building. Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District is providing high quality chain link fencing. The gardening organizations will all have access. Adults from participating community organizations will be able to garden before and after school, and on the weekends.
There are many people included in this project. All of whom have the passion of teaching gardening skills to others. This truly is the dream of Judy Ammon coming true. A community garden is something Judy dreamed of; and now our community has made it a reality.
Look for notices on work/fun days and for the opening celebration. The work/fun days will include activities and a community meal. At the opening celebration, there will be a professional gardener demonstrating techniques and skills. The gardener will also be available for questions and information.
Potential volunteers can call 530-629-3141 for dates and times of work days and the dedication ceremony.