Sustainability: Community gardening

Rob Breeden is one of a handful of people responsible for launching the new community garden at Canyon View Vineyard Church.

For Breeden, the emphasis is definitely on community. “I have a passion for community,” he explained. The landscape architect sees the garden as a way to promote community spirit and to “alleviate unhealthy eating.”

Breeden and grounds manager Rick Kenagy, affectionately known as the Pasture Pastor, shared a vision of starting the community garden. Rick manages 42 acres owned by Canyon View Vineyard Church, stretching from the church buildings all the way to G Road.

After some research and lots of help from the church and community, that vision has become a thriving garden with a bountiful harvest.

For this first year, the growing area covers 8,400 square feet, or a little less than one-quarter acre. There are longs rows of tomatoes, four kinds of squash, four kinds of peppers, cucumbers and green beans, and that’s just the beginning. Cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, onions, beets, melons and potatoes are all growing. Radishes and lettuce have already been harvested.

In order to produce the most food on a small amount of land, Kenagy learned about the Mittleider method from the Vineyard Church in Boise, Idaho. This method was developed by the LDS Church and provides detailed computer-drawn garden plans.

An investment of less than $1,000 was all it took to get this sizable garden going. Various nurseries from all over the Grand Valley donated plants. Mesa County even pitched in with a heap of Mesa Magic compost.

Kenagy was in charge of putting the irrigation system in the ground.  He installed a manually operated “stream” type system after drilling three small holes in the delivery pipe every four inches. This tedious process optimizes efficiency.

So far, about 45 volunteers have been involved with maintaining the garden. The core group is from the church, but some neighbors are involved. Tuesday evenings and Saturdays are picking days.

Group harvesting began mid-July and 350 pounds of produce were picked in one week. Those who work on the garden get first pick of the bounty and the rest is made available to church members and elderly neighbors.

If all goes well, Breeden hopes the garden will double in size next year with a flower garden added between the plots.

Breeden would like to work with reciprocal partners from around the community who would join in the gardening effort and share the rewards. He said many seniors are living in situations where they cannot have their own gardens, but still are interested in doing some gardening.

Breeden would like to hear from anyone interested in bringing in more community members. The best way to contact him is by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Adele Israel is a Grand Junction writer who has been involved in sustainability efforts for some 20 years. Have a question or column idea for Adele? E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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