Garden would feed community

Buckley is considering starting a community giving garden to grow food for families in need.

Ron Weigelt, a state senate candidate for the 31st District, visited the Buckley City Council March 9 to encourage members and Buckley residents to “grow a row” in their backyard gardens to donate to food banks.

The proposal stirred discussion of starting a dedicated garden somewhere in Buckley. Mayor Pat Johnson conferred responsibility for discussing and planning a garden to the Community Services and Recreation committee.

“I think this is a good idea,” said Councilwoman Melissa Patson, who heads the committee. “We are seriously considering this and it’s something that could work for our town. Food banks are always in need.”

The committee has met once on the issue and it is purely in the planning stages as of now. Members are working on an application for a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant due April 15.

Two locations have been discussed – a field to the side of the youth center off state Route 410 and the Miller property off Spiketon Road.

The youth center spot is less than a half-acre of brownish field, causing some concern about whether the soil would be right for growing produce.

The Miller property is about six acres in the middle of Buckley on the downtown side of state Route 410. If that site were to be used, about a quarter-acre to half an acre would be dedicated to the community garden, Councilman James Montgomery said.

“This is something that’s been discussed for years and for whatever reason it hasn’t been done,” he said. “Based on the people I’ve talked to, the community would be supportive of a garden.

“Ideally, it would take some money from the city to start it up, but after that it could be run by the community. Once it’s going, all it will need to continue running is some water and a Porta-Potty. If someone in the community is willing to lend their tractor, they can come out once a year and rototill the soil.”

A few of the plots in the garden could be dedicated to local food banks.

Though a central community garden is only in the planning stages, Patson and Montgomery said they will grow an extra row from their spring and summer gardens, and would urge anyone growing a garden of produce for personal consumption grow an extra row to donate.

Anyone who would like to donate items to a food bank in Buckley can go to Recreation Services Director Jennifer Bacon at the youth center or Kiwanis Club. Bacon can be reached at 360-829-1921 ext. 210. Buckley Kiwanis can be reached at 253-905-8211.

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