According to the National Gardening Association, a well-maintained garden can yield roughly one ½ pound of produce per square foot during each growing season. For a 400-square-foot garden plot, this adds up to around 200 pounds of produce, worth an estimated $400 annually. For low-income families and individuals, this represents an excellent way to cut into the grocery bill.
Since our first full growing season in 2010, The Community’s Garden has looked for ways to help local, low-income families enjoy not only the health benefits associated with growing your own food, but the financial benefits as well. At The Community’s Garden, the $40 rental fee for a 20’ x 20’ plot is waived for families that receive WIC or SNAP benefits through FoodShare, WI. The start-up costs associated with a new food garden, as well as the maintenance costs, are also close to non-existent; all of the necessary tools to get your garden started (and to keep it going) are provided on site, while the City of Sturgeon Bay donates mulch and compost. Additionally, at the beginning of each growing season, The Community’s Garden Board of Directors tills the soil, so when arriving in early spring all one needs to do is start planting!
One doesn’t need to be an expert!
Don’t let getting started intimidate you. One doesn’t need to be an expert to enjoy the benefits of The Community’s Garden! Our farmers come from all walks of life and have developed all levels of ability. “We will always welcome new gardeners,” says Carmen Schroeder, a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist at DCMC and board member of The Community’s Garden. “We have both seasoned and beginner gardeners and we’re always willing to help out. It’s a real community, there is a lot of sharing and educating going on.”
In addition to the “on the job training” that comes from working alongside our more experienced farmers, The Community’s Garden offers a wide range of classes during the growing season. Our Food for Health series covers topics ranging from pest control to plant tending to food preservation. Learn how to create delicious meals from the food you grow. Learn how to pickle or can your veggies so you can enjoy them later in the year. All classes are open to the public and taught in the garden by experts, and all classes are free!
No time to garden? Try the Farmer’s Market!
While The Community’s Garden is an excellent resource for cheap and healthy food, gardening does take a good deal of time that not everyone has. At DCMC we understand that The Community’s Garden may not be an appropriate way for everyone to acquire healthy and inexpensive produce. In response, for the past two years, DCMC has worked with partners like The United Way and The City of Sturgeon Bay Farmer’s Market to increase access to fresh produce and whole foods for low-income individuals and families through the support of FoodShare, WI. In conjunction with FoodShare, DCMC is sponsoring a voucher program at the Sturgeon Bay Farmer’s Market “that allows participants to buy fresh, local produce and other wholesome foods at the market.” The Double Your FoodShare Dollars program also aims to incentivize healthy eating by doubling available funds. According to Sturgeon Bay public works/parks and recreation supervisor Bob Bordeau, “If you want to buy $10 [of produce] on your Quest card, you’ll be given $20 in [FoodShare] tokens.”
For more information on The Community’s Garden program, including information on classes, events, membership and plot rentals, please visit our website at thecommunitysgarden.org. Farmer’s market tours are offered at the Sturgeon Bay Farmers’ Market Information/EBT booth to FoodShare participants and other community members. For more information on the Sturgeon Bay Farmers’ Market please visit the City of Sturgeon Bay website or click here.