Opelika begins second season for community gadren
By Suzanne Montgomery
For first time gardeners, those who are eager to try their hands at growing fresh vegetables or flowers for their tables, it is not too late to acquire one’s very own plot of ground at Opelika’s Community Garden on Glenn Avenue in Opelika.
Space is also open for people who just need more space than their small yards or apartments have to offer for those sprawling pumpkins they have a hankering to try.
Returning gardeners from last season and garden sponsors turned out Saturday, Arbor Day, morning to celebrate the beginning of the growing season, which began with the planting of another Nuttall Oak.
“ Our plans are to plant a Nuttall Oak each year on Arbor Day, continuing the line of trees in front of the garden fence until we run out of space,” said Clint Niemeyer, board member for Keep Opelika Beautiful. Another member of the KOB board, Billy Edwards, was busy giving away young Cup Oak trees to garden participants for planting about the community.
As children ran freely in the park-like atmosphere surrounding the garden, their parents made plans for their spring and summer crops. Students from Auburn University, under the direction of Dr. Sean Forbes, worked steadily in the enclosed area to develop mulch paths and apply lime and organic fertilizer.
Peanut butter and pine cone bird feeders were offered to the children attending the garden opening by Girl Scout Troup 7238 of Opelika; Home Depot gave away gardening aprons; and Scott Fertilizer helped in supplying organic additives for the soil.
A new restaurant, Zazu’s, soon to make its debut in downtown Opelika offering upscale cuisine, is interested in buying locally grown vegetables from the Community Garden.
A new organization, Envirachange, from Northside Elementary School Enrichment Program, was represented by fourth grade founders and entrepreneurs Emily Hess and Allie Vickers with friend and supporter, Ava Parker. Their mission for Envirachange is “make the world a better place and reduce ozone as much as possible,” according to Emily. The young founders have developed their own website, logo and T-shirts and are seriously pursuing having other students who care about the environment join their group at Northside Elementary. Their immediate goals are to plant trees, clean roads and help elderly members of the community with yard work. Both young girls were eagerly explaining their mission as well as helping garden day participants plant herbs into starter pots. Those interested in Envirachange can visit www.envirachange.weebly .com
According to KOB’s director, Tipi Miller, the Community Garden is supporting the Farm-to-Table concept by supplying local restaurants, the Community Food Bank and other organizations with fresh produce from the garden. In addition, Forbes, AU Professor, has received a sizeable grant to promote interactive development of young at-risk students interested in learning the skills of agri-business, thus creating a synergistic approach between the Opelika community and the Community Garden.
Anyone interested in securing a garden plot or wanting more information can contact Miller at 749-4970.