New community garden taking root
An effort to develop a community garden has sprung up in Hillsboro.
Hillsboro retiree Stan Thiessen and others have joined in a grassroots effort to plant the seeds of the idea and gauge the level of community interest in the proposal.
The garden would provide an opportunity for participants to harvest fresh produce and also support the community food bank, Thiessen said.
Besides growing produce, a community garden can produce recreation, foster relationships, and provide a sense of well-being, accomplishment, and self-reliance.
It’s appealing not just to people of limited means, but to recent retirees with time on their hands to do some of the things they’ve wished to do.
A community garden also is appealing to younger people who want to learn to do craft-type activities.
“I think the young people are looking into this more,” Thiessen said. “Preserving food is a home craft.”
Thiessen said he and other supporters have looked into other community gardens, and like Marion’s model.
Hillsboro, like Marion, has a large percentage of retirees.
“It would look a lot like the city of Marion’s community gardens,” Thiessen said. “We would have food bank involvement. A focus would be on assisting the food bank. There are other people who would benefit from not having to go to the store and buy their produce.”
A survey to measure the level of community interest has been developed. The survey is available online and at Hillsboro city hall.
“We don’t want to get into it unless there is community support for the garden,” Thiessen said.
Hillsboro economic development director Anthony Roy said the city will lend support if the effort gains traction.
“We haven’t really talked about specifics, but if there’s a lot of interest in the community, we’ll do it,” Roy said.
That assistance could come in the form of donation of land, donation of water for irrigation, or the like.
“We want to help with it if there’s strong community interest,” Roy said. “We’re interested in doing what we can to help it if it gets going.”
A community garden is much more than people running around with their own shovels and turning their own dirt, Thiessen said.
“You can begin with gardens, but there are so many other things that can be done that are supportive,” Thiessen said.
“You’ve got artists in the community. What better way to show that than to have them perform by the gardens?
“There are people who grow flowers.
“Where are the people who would make outdoor benches?
“Where are the people who would make outdoor signs?
“It’s all of those things you use to make it a community development.”
Questions about the community garden could be addressed to Thiessen by calling (316) 664-9816.