According to the National Gardening Association, a well-maintained garden can yield a half pound of produce per square foot during each growing season. For a 20-by-20 foot garden plot, this adds up to around 200 pounds of produce, worth an estimated $400+ annually. With continued rising food costs, growing one’s own bounty is an excellent way to cut the grocery bill.
Room to Grow at The Community’s Garden
Since our first full growing season in 2010, The Community’s Garden (TCG) has pursued a two-fold mission: to showcase the connection between a community’s well-being and nature, and to provide the opportunity for gardeners to enjoy the health and financial benefits associated with growing their own food.
Located on Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) campus at 16th Place in Sturgeon Bay, TCG is a nonprofit organization that leases the garden space from DCMC. Each 20-by-20 foot plot is rented for $50 per growing season.
As TCG looks to promote healthy dietary habits and a deep connection between local residents of all income levels and the food that they eat, the organization takes several steps to reduce some of the costs associated with renting and maintaining a plot, including:
Discounted rates: Any DCMC employee who is interested in gardening in the 2022 season can rent plots at a discounted rate. If families receive FoodShare they can volunteer for additional hours to receive a discounted rental rate.
Cost of tools: TCG provides, on site and free of charge, all tools, wheelbarrows and hoses to get your garden started and to keep it going.
Cost of mulch and compost: Mulch and compost are donated and delivered by the City of Sturgeon Bay.
Preparing the soil: At the beginning of each growing season, TCG’s Board of Directors Members till the soil, so when arriving in early spring all one needs to do is start planting!
As a result of the steps outlined above, the start-up costs associated with a new food garden, as well as the maintenance costs, can be close to non-existent for many Door County residents and families.
One doesn’t need to be an expert!
Don’t let getting started intimidate you. One doesn’t need to be an expert to enjoy the benefits of The Community’s Garden! Our growers truly represent our community with gardeners from all ages and in all stages of life with varying levels of growing experience. “We always welcome new gardeners,” says Carmen Schroeder, a gardener and board member of The Community’s Garden. “We have both seasoned and beginner gardeners, we learn from each other. It really is a community—people share their techniques from garden preparation, planting, plant maintenance to harvesting.”
In addition to the “on the job training” that comes from working alongside our more experienced growers, tips are offered throughout the season on topics from pest control to plant tending to food preservation. Whatever your level of gardening proficiency, there is always room for you to grow at The Community’s Garden!
Top Reasons to Grow Your Own Food at The Community’s Garden:
TCG provides individuals with the opportunity to grow affordable & nutritious vegetables and herbs that can be eaten during the growing season or processed for eating throughout the year.
TCG provides access to garden plots to individuals who lack ideal growing conditions at their homes.
TCG provides ease of access. Plots are tilled at the start of each season, on-site irrigation is conveniently located, and deer and rabbit fences have been installed to protect the plants.
The start-up costs associated with a new food garden, as well as the maintenance costs, can be minimal—all of the necessary tools to get your garden started (and to keep it going) are provided on-site, while the City of Sturgeon Bay donates mulch and compost.
TCG is used for community service, gardeners grow crops with the intention to donate to local food pantries.
TCG provides a learning environment to new and future gardeners. Gardening tips and techniques are shared on various topics pertinent for the growing season.
TCG is Community—gardeners have the opportunity to learn from others, share with others, or rely on others to assist with tasks such as watering or harvesting in their absence.
In addition to growing food, TCG provides opportunities to be with other people, to appreciate nature, and to get physically active.
“It has been exciting to see the garden evolve and to meet new strategic goals over the past 12 years,” Carmen says, adding, “The garden is a laboratory for learning—it provides access to gardening, a place for healing and camaraderie, and a way for the community to work together to be good stewards of our land.”
Plots are currently available for the 2022 growing season!!! For more information on The Community’s Garden program, including information on plot rentals, please visit our website by clicking here. You can also visit our facebook page by clicking here.