'Garden Gurus' invite public to celebrate new Nevada Community Garden Saturday
Councilman Luke Spence’s seed of an idea is sprouting into a successful project as the Nevada Community Garden begins its first season and celebrates with a ribbon-cutting event at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The community garden is led by a small group of Nevadans who call themselves Garden Gurus. They share Spence’s vision of a garden that’s a place for community, education and delicious, nutritious food.
“It’s been going really well,” Spence said. “I thought it would go well, but it’s been very encouraging to see the support from the community.”
The garden is about a quarter-acre in total, with a 57-by-57-foot plot that will be dedicated to growing produce to donate to the three Nevada food pantries: Nevada Food at First, Cubbies Cupboard and the Nevada Community Cupboard.
The donation plot will include a strawberry patch, lettuce garden, vegetable garden, herb garden, a salsa garden with tomatoes and peppers, and a large potato and onion patch.
The land is owned by the Nevada Community Historical Society and the garden is located to the east of Evergreen Lane, the historical society’s 1879 home at 1204 H Ave.
Spence had a chance conversation with Kris Corbin, the president of the Nevada historical group, last year at a chili cookoff.
“I mentioned the idea of the community garden, and he said, ‘Oh, I think that might be something we might be interested in having.’”
The historical society already has gardens with the Nevada FFA and has an orchard in the back of the property.
“They’ve got enough land to do a little more of that, plus it’s less mowing for them to do, as well,” Spence said.
The community garden also has 24 rental plots available — 10 in-ground and 14 raised.
The cost to rent a plot for the season is $30 for a raised bed and $20 for an in-ground bed. All rental plots are 4-by-10 feet. At the end of the season, $10 is refundable if plots are cleaned up.
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To apply for a plot, go to surveymonkey.com/r/KFZQGZX.
The idea for a community garden is one that Spence has had for a long time, he said. He and his family moved to Nevada from Indiana six years ago.
“When we lived in Indiana, I had a plot in a community garden,” he said. “We would take the kids there, and we had a plot in the backyard too for a while. And at some point it’s just an idea that came to me: Why couldn’t we have a larger plot and donate the food?”
It would give more people the opportunity to eat fresh produce, he said, and would get people outside and encourage socializing among community members.
“We have a master chef (Lisa Cassady) who is also a master gardener as one of our volunteers,” Spence said, “and we’re hoping to someday maybe be able to have some cooking classes where people can learn recipes for an ingredient they might not be familiar with or new recipes for things everybody’s used to.”
There are several master gardeners who are volunteers with the group who can offer advice to new gardeners. The group is looking for volunteers to help in the donation garden. No experience is necessary, Spence said.
“I personally have very little expertise in gardening. I just like to eat,” Spence said with a laugh.
To volunteer, email email@example.com or contact the group through its Facebook page “Nevada Community Garden.”
Saturday’s event will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. followed by lunch.
The Garden Gurus will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, which will be served with chips. Desserts will be provided by Iowa Eats Well. Free-will donations will be accepted.
“It took a massive amount of planning, labor, building and planting to come to this point,” Spence said in a news release. “We would like to welcome the public to come celebrate with us.”