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Community Garden Produced Tons Of Food, Had More Growers During 2011

October 28, 2011

Antigo Daily Journal

Antigo Daily Journal

Forty-one busy gardeners grew over two tons of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Antigo Community Garden this year, doubling the 2010 harvest.

The number of plots also increased from 37 in 2010 to 46 in 2011.

“People are realizing the great benefits from participating in the community garden,” Barb McIlquham, garden coordinator, said. “Not only do gardeners receive a plot at a minimal cost, they also receive free use of garden tools, water access, free seeds and guidance on how to achieve success in gardening.”

The Antigo Community Garden, located behind the Antigo United Methodist Church, started in 2009 with 11 plots. Through various partnerships, organizers were able to obtain grants and donations to expand the garden to include new water lines, tool shed, washing station, information kiosk and other amenities to help even a novice gardener achieve success.

Gardening advice and classes on how to preserve your summer harvest were offered through a partnership with the Langlade County University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Gardeners were also encouraged to donate any extra produce they couldn’t use to local food pantries. About 150 pounds of produce were donated to area food pantries.

“Besides benefiting from an endless array of fresh, great-tasting produce, there are many other advantages to gardening,” McIlquham said. “One of the greatest advantages to gardening is the nutritional benefits. Creating a vegetable garden is a great way of ensuring that you are consuming the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals. With all the supplies that are provided by the community garden, it also makes eating healthy very economical.”

McIlquham noted that gardening is also a great workout, as it involves a number of different kinds of exercises, including stretching, weightlifting and moderate cardiovascular activity.

“Gardening is also a great stress reliever,” she said. “With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, many people forget to take time to relax and participate in activities that they enjoy. Planning and caring for a garden can be a simple and inexpensive way to relax and enjoy time by yourself or with family members.”

The coordinator added that the community garden is a great opportunity for anyone looking to learn a little bit more about gardening, and is available to those who do not have the tools or space to garden.

“It’s also a great way to meet new people and enjoy the great outdoors,” she said. “We hope to expand again next year and increase the number of people gardening in our community.”

If you are interested and would like to learn more about the garden, contact McIlquham at (715) 219-3436 or Kari Lazers, Wisconsin nutrition education program coordinator at (715) 627-6236.

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