Horses plow to help feed others

A team of draft horses kicked off the downtown community garden’s second season Saturday morning.

The Jefferson Street Oasis Community Garden, located at the former St. Mary Church site, 1027 West High Street, was plowed by draft horses around 11 a.m. The event was free and open to the public.

The garden began last year as a collaborative ministry program between the Children’s Rescue Center Inc. and the Cincinnati Archdioceses, which owns the land. It produced enough food for the organization to make two sizable donations to three local food pantries, including Daily Bread West, St. Vincent De Paul and St. John’s, as well as produce for participants and their families.

Last year, the garden had 12 plots and nine participants, with gardens ranging from 225 to 900 square feet.

This year, Garden co-organizer Terry Fredrich said, they’ll plow 25 plots and “see how many people we get.”

In the future, Fredrich sees the garden as possibly being used for urban agriculture similar to those in bigger Rust Belt cities like Milwaukee and Chicago. The produce from those gardens are used for farm stands, farm markets, specialty restaurants and prepaid box orders.

The size of the garden is about 1.2 acres and Fredrich hopes to lease more space in the future.

“It’s a large enough area within the city that it would lend itself to (urban agriculture),” he said.

The site is perfect, he said, because the former St. Mary Church was built on the edge of Springfield at the time and has great soil.

Michael Cooper, Staff Writer for the Springfield News Sun, wrote this original story.