Community garden plots available

YORK – Community garden plots are again available for this year’s growing season.

Back in 2008, the City of York purchased 400 acres of farm ground east of the city. The property was developed into what is now the city’s wellfield.

Then in the summer of 2017, the Upper Big Blue Natural Resource District approached the city with an idea for improving soil health which would in turn protect the city’s drinking water – Project GROW (Growing Rotational Crops On Wellfield).

Project GROW focuses on 160 acres of the total 400-acre wellfield and includes demonstration fields, community garden plots, a berry orchard, and an extensive pollinator habitat. Using no-till, diverse cover crops, and proven crop rotations, the project seeks to improve soil health, decrease soil erosion, and improve water holding capacity, all while maintaining profitability. One of the main goals of the project is to improve the quality of the drinking water produced from the wellfield, as a healthy soil acts as a filtering system to the aquifer and decreases nitrogen leaching and contamination.

The community garden and berry orchard also helps supplement individual needs for locally-grown food.

The Project GROW plot is located just east of the ball field complex in York, close to the intersection of 12th Street and Road N.

The purpose of the community garden is to help supplement individual needs for locally grown food, according to the NRD. The garden area allows for a space community members can use. There are 12 plots, measuring 20×15 feet each. There is a deposit requirement and a water use fee – if someone needs financial assistance to help pay for that, they can include that in their application.

If someone is interested in reserving a garden plot, they can fill out the gardener interest form or complete the garden application and contract, which can be found on the NRD’s website, at https://www.upperbigblue.org/project-grow-community-garden-forms. Those need to be sent to the NRD with the garden deposit and water use fee.

Gardeners are responsible for weeding, care, harvesting, etc., of their spaces. The private plots are just that – private – as the produce there belongs to the person/people who grew it.

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