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Volunteers at health department create community garden

A year after community garden idea was created, the dream became a reality for Yukon

It’s been a year since the idea was hatched for a community garden at the Canadian County Health Department and the dividends are now becoming visible.

CCHD Clerical Supervisor Tisha Aldridge is nothing but smiles as the project is getting ready to wrap up fall activities that included an “Open House” to showcase the garden on Monday. Volunteers and employees at the health facility have spent the past year constructing the huge garden on the north side of the building at 1023 E. Vandament, which will expand in the spring.

“This has been a project that we’ve been working on since last September so it’s taken us a full year for it to come to fruition,” Aldridge said with a smile. “It’s something we’re very proud of and we really hope that the community will utilize and embrace it.”

The falls’ crops of vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, kale and lettuce and next summers’ garden plans call for even a wider variety in the spring,” Aldridge promises.

The idea for the garden was to help Yukon citizens who need the fruits and vegetables the garden will provide and come at no charge.

“We just want to help anyone in our community who has food needs or are dealing with hunger issues,” Aldridge explains. “They can come in any time and as often as they would like and get all the fruits and vegetables they need.

“We don’t ask questions,” she added, “and they don’t have to check in with us. We don’t monitor how much they’re taking or limit how much they can take. Of course we would not like them to take no more than they are going to use since we don’t want it to go to waste.”

Currently, the garden consists of five raised beds of vegetable but the supply will double by next year when volunteers will fill another five beds. The raised beds allow for those who are physically challenged to be able to reach the garden items.

“We love the raised bed idea because anyone of any physical ability can garden here,” Aldridge said. “You don’t have to worry about getting down on the ground and hurting your knees and back. You can garden from a seated position as well.”

Volunteers have pretty much done all the work they had planned to showcase for the grand opening such as “getting some things planted and ready to go,” Aldridge said while touring the garden on Monday.

“We will probably have a big volunteer get-together in the spring and come out with all the volunteers, prep the beds, and get ready for all of our planting for next season,” she said.

Yukon’s Lowe’s Home Improvement store adopted the garden at the Health Department as their “Lowe’s Project” for this year and Lowe’s personnel were instrumental in getting the project planned and executed.

“We could never have done this without them,” Aldridge said in praise of the building supply company. “They donated all of the fencing supplies and they found a company to come in and actually install the fence for free. They’ve landscaped our land around the garden to beautify it and donated soil and gardening tools like shovels and rakes and things like that.”

Lowe’s employees have donated many man-hours of work having been out at the project several times to help. They have come out and done some heavy work like moving soil and “helped us in ways we couldn’t do by ourselves.” Aldridge noted. “They have been fabulous; they have been a true partner to us. They call us on occasion and ask if we need anything and how we’re doing. They’ve just been wonderful.

 “I’m so proud of it,” she said of the garden. “This was just an empty field. There was nothing here but grass and to see it the way we had envisioned it, it makes me so proud.”

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