Room to Grow at College Place Community Garden | Best Stories
The College Place Community Garden is open and accepting applications for those interested in using the garden beds.
The garden is adjacent to the fire station, 629 S. College Ave., at the northeast corner of the building.
There are a total of 15 beds available. For those wishing to participate in the community garden, there is an annual rental fee of $ 50 per bed. Walla Walla University management and marketing professor George Perez said help was available in times of financial hardship as the sponsors pledged to cover $ 40 out of $ 50 for a prize. Up to 10 people can receive financial assistance from sponsors. Up to 40 flower beds can be added to the garden, Perez said, and water is included in the garden.
2021 is the first year the community garden has opened and so far five gardeners have joined the community garden. A gardener, Peter Erb, said his experience with the garden has been great.
“It’s a very Zen thing to pour water over certain things,” Erb said. “I do it right after work, so it’s kind of a cool little thing to calm you down.”
The garden is managed by a club at Walla Walla University called Enactus, an international student organization on entrepreneurs and sustainability. It has more than 72,000 members worldwide, according to its website.
Another gardener, Brian Thorne, said he switched from the Walla Walla Community Garden to the College Place Community Garden because it was closer to where he lived. Thorne also said he admired the work Enactus did to finish the garden.
“The students who worked there [the garden], they worked really hard, ”Thorne said. “They hauled cement blocks, they leveled the ground and all kinds of stuff, so they really have a group of people who are working hard to put everything in place.”
The idea was to create a social business or project that could have an impact on people and the planet, Perez said. Thus, the garden can help low-income families and single-parent families, teach human skills so that they can have a side business and help the planet by reducing production waste.
Enactus partnered with the City of College Place in 2019 to create the Community Garden. College Place rents the land from WWU for $ 1.
There are many reasons to participate in a community garden, said Perez.
A community garden provides space for those who don’t have a garden to grow their own vegetables, Perez said.
It can also be therapeutic, he said. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it encourages people to go out and try a new hobby. It also allows people to connect with their community by working alongside other gardeners and garden visitors.
Gardeners control the produce they grow and can eat it, sell it, or donate it to local food banks.
In September, Enactus could launch “master gardeners” conferences or evening gardening gatherings, Perez said. There are also plans for healthy food conferences and training to sell food at farmers markets.
The garden can become an area labeled “Blue Zone” with the Blue Zones Project.
“Blue Zone basically means that a community is sustainable, healthy and recycles,” Perez said. “Part of the mandate of the blue zones initiative is to bring the community together and therefore, something we would like to do is take the experience, expertise and knowledge of the students with the community garden and transfer them to other community gardens. “
Two schools have already contacted Perez about a community garden, so adding more community gardens is a possibility, Perez said.
Money generated by the garden will be used for garden maintenance and other Enactus projects and club expansion, according to WWU website.