The one-acre Cortez Community Garden on East Empire is donating seven plots to local citizens.
Both the non-profit community garden and several local businesses have teamed up to sponsor the free 10-by-12-foot food plots. In addition to the plots, gardeners can also take advantage of free workshops and gardening experts.
“Fresh produce out of a garden is better than anything you can buy at the grocery store,” said community garden chairwoman Bobbi Neubarth.
Neubarth said the free plots are available through serious inquiries only, citing a one-year commitment to the garden. With the amount of time and effort required to harvest adequate crops, Neubarth said two or more families could join forces to work a single plot as a team.
“We want our gardeners to be engaged,” she said. “In the end, families will feel more empowered, because they’re feeding their children.”
The free plots idea bloomed last year as Neubarth’s brainchild, and she’s hopeful the service will continue to grow in the future.
Community garden treasurer Keegan Ward added that residents of apartment complexes and mobile home parks would be ideal candidates to apply for the free garden plots.
“We want to give people who may not have a yard the opportunity to grow their own garden,” he said.
Volunteers who raise crops at the community garden donate harvests to area food pantries. Last year, nine families enrolled in a program to receive fresh vegetables weekly at the Cortez Farmer’s Market.
“It wasn’t much, but it helped those families give their children at least one nutritious meal,” Neubarth explained. “If we can help, then that’s why we’re here.”
The Cortez Community Garden project was launched last summer on land donated by Melissa Gould and Ricky Lightfoot.
The free garden plots are available to any area resident on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, call Neubarth at (970) 529-0689 or email [email protected]