Tag Archives: The Community’s Garden

Room to Grow at The Community’s Garden

Door County Community's GardenAs we head into late summer, The Community’s Garden (TCG) is teeming with a variety of herbs, vegetables, flowers and pollinators. Located on DCMC’s campus at 16th Place in Sturgeon Bay, TCG is a 501c3 organization which leases the garden space from the hospital for $1 a year. The 20’ X 20’ plots are rented to individuals for $40 each year. In promoting good health, DCMC offered employee discounts on 10 plots this growing season, plus there is a 50% reduction on the rental fee for families who receive SNAP benefits through FoodShare, WI.

The mission of The Community’s Garden is to showcase the connection between a community’s well-being and nature. This year, 43 gardeners are harvesting 42 plots, rounding out yet another successful growing season at TCG. “The garden is a laboratory for learning,” says Carmen Schroeder, a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist at DCMC and board member of TCG, “it provides access to gardening, a place for healing and camaraderie, and a way for the community to work together to be good stewards of our land.”

Carmen says it has been exciting to see the garden evolve and to meet new strategic goals over the years. At the start of this year’s season, five raised garden beds were added to accommodate gardeners. Whatever your level of gardening proficiency, there is room for you to grow at The Community’s Garden!

Growing food at Community's Garden

Carmen’s Top 9 Reasons to Grow Your Own Food at The Community’s Garden:

  1. TCG provides individuals with the opportunity to grow affordable & nutritious vegetables and herbs that can be eaten during the growing season or processed for eating throughout the year;
  2. TCG provides access to garden plots to individuals who lack ideal growing conditions at their homes;
  3. TCG provides ease in access. Plots are tilled at the start of each season, on-site irrigation is conveniently located, and deer and rabbit fences have been installed to protect the plants;
  4. The start-up costs associated with a new food garden, as well as the maintenance costs, are 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;
  5. The garden is used for community service. Gardeners grow the crops with the intention to donate to local food pantries;
  6. Families who utilize the SNAP program have a free resource to grow their own nutritional, almost home-grown produce;
  7. TCG provides a learning environment to new and future gardeners. Gardening classes are provided on-site with various topics pertinent for the growing season;
  8. TCG is Community; gardeners have the opportunity to learn from others, share with others, or rely on others to assist with tasks such as watering or harvesting in their absence;
  9. In addition to growing food, TCG provides opportunities to be with other people, to appreciate nature, and to get physically active.

Get Involved!

For more information on The Community’s Garden program, including information on classes, events, membership and plot rentals, please contact DCMC to sign-up: 920-743-5566, ext 3920 or call 920-743-6005. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Community’s Garden – A Healthy Resource for All

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.

Door County Community's GardenSince 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.”

Community's Garden in Door CountyIn 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.

Community’s Garden is Open to All

The Community’s Garden, located on the campus of Door County Medical Center, is open to all in our community. In 2016, more than thirty families and community organizations grew fresh produce in these garden plots.

Families who rent a 20’ x 20’ garden plot have the potential to save nearly $1,000 a year on food costs. And spring is a perfect time to begin planning for summer gardening by perusing catalogs and buying and starting seeds.  “Not only does a garden plot produce fresh produce in season, but end-of summer canning, freezing and dehydrating make fresh, home-grown foods available throughout the year,” says Registered Dietitian Carmen Schroeder of Door County Medical Center.

The Community’s Garden also offers “Food for Health” classes to introduce community members to gardening and cooking with fresh produce. For more information on the Community’s Garden, visit www.thecommunitysgarden.org, or call Jenny Spude at 920.746.3877

Try this recipe now, and reserve your garden plot to ensure plenty of tomatoes for next year!

Spaghetti with marinara sauce and basil leaves on top, decorated with cherry tomatoes. on blue background.



  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes*
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (or 1 1/3 Tbsp. dried parsley)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup white wine


  1. In a food processor place the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the finely chopped onion in olive oil for two minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and white wine.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over your favorite pasta.

*For each can, substitute 1 ¼ cup fresh tomatoes, ¼ cup chopped bell pepper, ¼ cup chopped onion and 1 cup tomato juice, water or broth.

Asparagus, New Food For Health Classes on the Menu at The Community’s Garden

With Door County’s long winter finally behind us, the asparagus is ready for harvesting at The Community’s Garden in Sturgeon Bay. The garden, now in its fifth growing season, gives residents a place to plant and harvest local food, as well as support, camaraderie, and educational opportunities.

The asparagus was planted three years ago as a partnership between UW Extension, Ministry Door County Medical Center and Door County Human Services. “The Community’s Garden is open not just to individuals, but also to community groups,” says Jenny Spude, founding member of the garden and president of its board of directors. “We worked with the Developmental Disability Team to help their clients learn more about where their food comes from, and to gain practical skills and job experience.”

Joe and John Flesia with their harvest

Joe and John Flesia with their harvest

The group successfully planted 250 asparagus crowns. “We had several people who took a great deal of interest in the project,” adds Spude. “This year, we had a big enough harvest to provide a good amount of asparagus to the cafeteria at Ministry.” The same individuals who planted the crowns were invited back to participate in the harvest, and they were proud to deliver their bounty to Ministry’s chefs.  “These taste good!” said Joe Flesia as he sampled the freshly picked asparagus.

The Community Garden’s partnership with the Human Services/Developmental Disability team highlights its goals of improving food security in the community, and providing opportunities for individual and group development. “It’s very fulfilling to see a project like this come to fruition. At the garden, we truly reap what we sow,” says Spude.

This summer Ministry will present Food For Health, a free program open to all adults who want to learn how to plant, grow and even cook fresh vegetables. Topics include weed prevention, controlling pests, saving seeds for next year, and preserving the bounty of the garden. Although the class is designed for adults, children are welcome and will have the opportunity to participate in children’s activities at the garden during class time. Food For Health workshops will be held Tuesdays at 5 pm, beginning July 7. Participants are invited to bring a picnic dinner and stay to enjoy Ministry’s Concerts in the Garden at 7 pm. To register call (920) 746-5994 or email jennifer.spude@ces.uwex.edu.