Community garden slated in Buckhannon

BUCKHANNON – A community garden is in the works for Buckhannon, and the public is invited to participate.

Create Buckhannon members have been abuzz about the concept for months, although the idea came up years ago. The project will involve the creation of raised bed gardens located behind the Parish House on Baxter Street in Buckhannon.

“Originally, we were all trying to (figure out) how do we expand the local food economy, and how do we get more people involved,” Create Buckhannon volunteer CJ Rylands said Thursday.

Anyone interested in gardening is encouraged to participate. Each raised bed garden plot will be labeled into multiple sections, and each community gardener will be given an assigned section in which they can grow produce.

The community garden is designed as a centralized garden within city limits where many people who are interested in gardening, but who might not have the space to do it at home, can participate while enjoying conversation with other gardeners doing the same.

“If we can get 30 new raised beds for gardening within city limits, I’d say that’s a good first step,” Rylands said. “And if we can get 10-20 other people involved with it, that’s 10-20 more relationships people have, and are talking with each other or working together, collaborating. That’s my common statement of ‘the strength of any community is directly proportional to the strength of the connection between citizens.'”

Rylands said the raised beds will be available for planting by the end of April.

He said the idea of a community garden was tossed around in past years but no one had exhibited leadership for the project until recently. Buck Edwards of Buckhannon assumed that role and started making the idea a reality, Rylands said.

Rylands said Edwards has met with the Stargazer’s Garden Club, the Parish House and the Opportunity House in connection with the community garden project.

“We had a link with The Opportunity House, which we thought was a great thing to give the people something nurturing to grow,” Rylands said. “Plus it’s a way to get with the community at Festival Friday’s selling stuff, learning, growing, working. Matt Keener, the director of The Opportunity House, had said he wanted to do something like this for years. You just get distracted until somebody starts something.”

During the Create Buckhannon meeting, members also mentioned the potential of gardeners selling some of the food produced in the community gardens at Festival Fridays, an every Friday evening, all-summer-long event at Jawbone Park in Buckhannon.

Rylands and other members also said some food grown in the gardens could be donated to the Parish House, a charity organization that hosts meals for members of the community.

The extra produce might not only create more vendors for the event, but more product to be sold.

Anyone who is interested in gardening or helping with the project may contact Edwards at 304-588-5200 or the Parish House at 304-473-8490.