Linda Nowakowski, chairwoman of the first ever New Carlisle Community Garden, talks about what she hopes comes from the new garden.

First New Carlisle Community garden ready to plant

Planting in New Carlisle’s first community garden is scheduled to happen within the next few weeks.

The city donated about a third of an acre of land next to the closed Madison Street school for the community garden. Organizers have been working to transform the abandoned lot into rows of mounded beds and raised beds in old farm tires.

“It’s about neighbors helping neighbors — neighbors working with each other,” said John Krabacher, New Carlisle vice mayor who also co-chairs the project.

“Last year New Carlisle was named by the state of Ohio as a food desert,” said Linda Nowakoswki, chairwoman of the garden. So she wanted to do something to help.

“We’re coming up with more sources of good food that is affordable,” Nowakowski said.

The garden is open to anyone in the community. A $25 fee is collected at the beginning, but if the plots are left well-groomed and re-usable at the end of the growing season, $20 of that money will be returned, organizers said.

New Carlisle city leaders approved of the project earlier this year, within weeks of the proposal going before city council, Nowakowski said.

“We jumped on board because we knew this would be something great for the community,” said Randy Bridge, city manager.

Part of the project is a strip of land where corn, pumpkins and beans will be grown and later donated to the Bethel Churches United food bank, 220 S. Main St.

“So they’ve got some fresh produce locally grown there as well,” Nowakowski said.

Goods from the garden will also be sold in the community farmer’s market. Part of that profit will go back to funding the future of the community garden.

Donations from the city and local businesses helped bring the garden to life, Krabacher said.

Scarff’s Nursery, Meadow View Growers, Studebaker Nurseries, the Ohio State University Extension Office of Clark County, the Western Clark County Business Coalition and the city of New Carlisle all donated time, supplies or knowledge to the project, organizers said.

For anyone who wants to be part of the garden, but doesn’t know how to grow food, other planters will be willing to help, Krabacher said.

“Get your hands dirty and you’ll be surprised and you’ll learn to enjoy it,” he said.

More information about the garden can be found on the group’s Facebook page under “New Carlisle Community Garden” or the group meets Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. in the city library.

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