Volunteers welcome to help open the Philomath Community Garden
(May 2009) – There are many indicators that the economy both locally and nationally is faltering; however the opening of the Philomath Community Garden offers a site for community members to provide their own source of food and self-assurance.
There have been several attempts in the past to create a community garden in Philomath. However, what makes this time different is a host of support from the community and local business.
Chris Shonnard, president of Shonnard’s Nursery, and Jeff Mitchell, a Philomath high school science teacher, approached the board of directors of Philomath Community Services (PCS), to support their vision.
“When the Philomath food bank went through a semi-load of food in one weekend,” Chris Shonnard recalled, “we knew there was a need.”
Philomath Community Services, a non-profit organization, sanctioned the proposal with Jeff Mitchell bringing in expertise and ability to engage future generations. Chris Shonnard brought corporate backing and years of horticultural experience. PCS has four existing programs, however they determined that a community garden in Philomath met their mission statement and therefore voted that the Philomath Community Garden would become their fifth program. In addition, due to their non-profit standing PCS can apply for grant money to help with expenses like the fence that they hope to build around the garden.
The Philomath Community Garden is hoping to dedicate a portion of the beds to community members who are unable to garden at their home; with the remaining beds being dedicated to providing fresh produce for the Gleaners and the Food Bank.
The community garden will focus on the production of food crops. Garden Director, Chris Shonnard, is excited about offering his knowledge to people who have little experience in gardening. Beds are going to be built soon, a portion of which will be accessible to the disabled.
There have been several hitches in the process, including the fact that the property belongs to an individual, instead of the city of Philomath as was once thought. However, the property was licensed to PCS.
The Hughes “have been our heroes,” said Jeff Lamb, the president of Philomath Community Services. The Hughes have agreed to license the land to PCS, their company, E.D. Hughes is donating their time and labor to enlarging the parking lot at PCS.
“We think it’s great for the high school and for the community,” Jeff Lamb said. “We want to feed people, to show them how to grow food.”
The Philomath Community Garden is hoping that local businesses will take an interest and sponsor low-income families who want to grow their own produce, but don’t have the location or the money.
On Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Philomath Community Garden is opening its proverbial garden gate to volunteers for a work-party. Volunteers are welcome to come and help the effort. Philomath Community Services will have a link on their web site providing information on how to join the community garden, or become a volunteer.
For specific information please contact Chris Shonnard, at (541) 929-3524.
See more information on the Philomath Community Garden in this November 2009 update from the Corvallis Gazette-Times.