Charles City, Iowa — The Clark Street Community Garden Committee is now taking applications for the 2016 growing season. Applications can be found at the Charles City Chamber of Commerce located at 401 North Main Street. There is a $15 rental fee per bed and applicants can rent up to 2 beds per person. Bed sizes are 4’ x 8’. Checks are to be made payable to Community Revitalization. Gardening mentors are available for new or beginning gardeners.
In 2015, with the help of the City of Charles City, Iowa Fit4Life grant, Allied Manatts, Jim Lundberg and the Charles City FFA, and community volunteers, 12 beds were built and put in place at the Clark Street Community Garden location on the corner of Clark Street and Leland Avenue. There was an abundance of food grown in those 12 beds with the help of an outstanding growing season and the hard work of beginning and seasoned gardeners.
Building on the success of the 2015 gardening year and demand for garden space in Charles City, the committee asked the City of Charles City for another year lease of the property. The committee applied for and received a grant from Farm Credit Services to pay for and build 12 more beds in 2016. In addition, the West St. Charles Methodist Church in rural Charles City, donated funds to help pay for bed rental scholarships and seeds to qualifying individuals and families.
The benefits of community gardens are numerous.
• Food production and access – enable people without suitable land of their own to grow food for themselves
• Nutrition – gardeners eat what they produce
• Exercise – gardening is physical activity
• Mental Health – research shows that interacting with plants and working with nature helps reduce stress
• Environment – gardens increase biodiversity, reduce rain runoff, recycle organic materials and reduce fossil fuel usage
• Education – all ages can garden, learn to cook their produce, and learn about nutrition
• Youth – community gardens provide a safe place for youth to explore gardening, nature and community
• Saves Money – produce grown can offset food purchases from the grocery store
• Crime Prevention – research shows that community gardens reduce crime in neighborhoods
For more information on the Clark Street Community Gardens, please contact Community Revitalization at 641-228-2335 or Wendy Johnson at 641-228-1583.