Miller, who noted that this garden is attracting many families who are new to the Kansas City area and new to the U.S., said that it is encouraging to see families working side-by-side in the garden, and to watch them grow as they learn more about food and how it grows, nutrition and health while also meeting others who are choosing to make their home in the area.
Clelia McCrory, who assisted Lyons USD 405 in writing the grant to establish the Lyons School Community Garden, is enthusiastic about community gardens, referencing a new generation of people who may have missed lessons about gardening and its benefits from their parents and grandparents.
Community collaborators for the USD 405 grant include The First Christian Church, Rice Healthcare Foundation, and Rice County K-State Research and Extension Office, and mentors from Sterling, Kan., who achieved success with a Kansas Health Foundation Community Garden Grant in 2012.
Libby Oberdorf, pastor of the Williamsburg United Methodist Church submitted a successful 2013 grant application for a Williamsburg Community Garden in cooperation with the city and elementary school.
Bringing the community together
She expressed the hope that establishing a community garden will bring young families who are new to the community together with older (and longtime) residents, including many who no longer have a connection with the schools.
Oberdorf, who offered the backyard of the parsonage as a location for a community garden to grow produce for garden members and the church's food pantry, reported that the new garden also is adjacent to the community library.
"We're already growing," she said. At the time we applied for the grant, the local library had one book on gardening … well, actually, on landscaping."
"As we've worked through the grant process, excitement in the community continues to grow. The library has purchased more gardening books and others in the community have donated books; the latest count in the gardening section is around 25," Oberdorf said.