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Food Bank community garden off and running



By Sun Advocate

RSVP and food bank volunteers watch and learn as Winger demonstrates proper trimming techniques.

A new community garden is being formed to assist families that utilize the Food Bank in Price. This is truly a community effort with several agencies involved.
The idea is a brainchild of Jim Piacitelli, who works with the Child and Family Services. Piacitelli first thought of the idea after seeing other larger cities managing community gardens and brought the idea to Price. The project is under the direction of Dondra Nance, food bank manager.
Nance explains that the idea of this community garden is for people or families who utilize food from the food bank work for their food. She compared it to the biblical passage of teaching fishers how to fish and thus learn a skill that will feed them for a lifetime.
This year because it is so late and the groups have a lot of cleaning and preparation they are keeping the project simple. “We will be planting vegetables that are quicker reproducing crops, such as peppers and tomatoes,” says Nance.
But next year and as the project develops they will be assigning sections of the garden to various families or groups that will be responsible for their own plot to produce their own food.
Retired Senior Volunteers Program (RSVP) are part of organization that will work with the gardeners. At this time six retired volunteers have come forth to help mentor and teach people how to garden. “These people all have experience with gardening and will monitor what is happening and assist where they can,” explains Nance.
The families that are growing the food will get help all along. The volunteers through RSVP have the time and resources.

RSVP volunteer Tera Prudance takes notes on tree trimming.

Another agency and group that is involved in the initial cleanup is Suda Merriman, who works as a city employee, but also works with court assigned juveniles. Last weekend Merriman’s group spent eight hours cleaning and preparing the half acre garden spot for a growing season.
Irrigation ditches have been cleaned, fruit trees pruned back, trees, and trash removed, said Nance. She said that water will arrive later this week through the irrigation system.
Marlon Winger, Carbon County Extension agent began working with a group of community citizens a week ago. Winger pointed out to the initial volunteers the four D’s when trimming trees, including dead, diseased, doubled and damaged.
In addition to the recipients of the food bank, clients that are in recovery programs through the Four Corners Mental Health program are also getting involved. Nance said that some recovering addicts who need to stay busy are starting a group to be part of the community effort.
The large garden spot was donated to the food bank to utilize by Renee Camarath lives in upstate Utah. According to Nance, Camarath’s father passed away three years ago and her mother was unable to care for herself. The property has sat vacant since then and now the three-acre lot, has been donated for the community garden. It includes water shares.
Nance also says that Bill Howell, executive director of Southeast Utah Association of Governments and Barbara Dougherty, program director for the food bank and weatherization and heat are providing networking resources. They are assisting Nance as she juggles her time between the food bank and the gardens . “Their support is invaluable,” says Nance, explaining that their networking helps the program and is making it easier to coordinate the volunteers.

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