Published On: Fri, May 30th, 2014

Community garden comes to fruition

Joshua Thomas, of Greenworks Recycling, has leased a plot and filled it with peppers, squash, cucumbers, strawberries and tomatoes.

Joshua Thomas, of Greenworks Recycling, has leased a plot and filled it with peppers, squash, cucumbers, strawberries and tomatoes.

The Ronceverte Community Garden will have their grand opening reception on Saturday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Island Park. The event will include a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony, music and activities for all ages. Catering is being provided by Rudy’s, Home Grown Organics and the Edgarton Cafe and Deli.

The community garden has been coordinated and executed by Mayor David Smith and City Administrator Reba Mohler in conjunction with Sally Baker and Sharon Schaefer of the Ronceverte Development Corporation. Ronceverte’s city crew worked to provide the 30 truckloads of fill material for the old swimming pool and the dirt to fill the garden plots.

The project got its start with $30,000 in grant money from the West Virginia Development Office. The money helped transform the defunct city pool into a beautifully designed community garden collective with 47 individual plots of raised beds. At press time only six plots remain available for lease. The fee is nominal at $10 or $20 based on size of plot for the entire growing season.

There is a community composting station on site; and a solar-powered rainwater catchment system almost completed. The adjacent building will house a youth community educational center with regards to agricultural skill and knowledge development; it will also serve to give young folks something to do while parents are busy tending their plots. Local artist Evva Gilkeson is painting a mural on a wall within the youth center.

Also on site are restrooms, a utility sink and soon, a locker system donated by the old high school. Gardeners will be welcome to store their tools and what-not in the lockers between visits.

Also forthcoming is a community farmers market on site for any local farmer to vend. Members of the community garden will also be permitted to vend their extra produce at this market. By next year Sally Baker says they hope to have a high tunnel and or a greenhouse to allow for extended growing seasons.

Sharon Schaefer would like to send a shout out to USDA representative Randall Lester for his untiring willingness to help. He has donated many of the plants gardeners are using; and has given lots of advice and instruction to help with the project.

For information in leasing a remaining plot, or to sign up to vend in the farmers market, please reach Sally Baker at 304-646-6310.