Friday, May 29, 2009

City approves new community garden

Kids will help manage site near Atkinson Park

Express Staff Writer

Maggie Burbridge and John Kearney, organizers of a new community garden in Ketchum, take a break Wednesday from work to prepare the site. Photo by David N. Seelig

This summer more local children will have the opportunity to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Maggie Burbridge and John Kearney, employees of the Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department, are donating their time and resources to build a small, community garden near Hemingway Elementary School.

"We don't have a lot of money, so there are no big purchases," Burbridge said. "We're trying to make something out of nothing."

The Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission approved the project Tuesday night.

"If you can get a good harvest, especially in this climate, I say go for it," said Ketchum P&Z Commissioner Deborah Burns.

The garden will have picnic tables, a gazebo, six raised beds and a composting area. It will be located on a small plot on 10th Street East, near the north side of Atkinson Park.

Burbridge said Kearney came up with the idea.

"He thought it would be a great to use a barren piece of property and get kids involved in the process of growing their own food," Burbridge said.

While Burbridge and Kearney will be the primary caretakers, they will also enlist the help of children involved in summer programs at Atkinson Park.

Burbridge said they plan to plant strawberries and raspberries, as well as lettuce, carrots, radishes and squash. In the future, she hopes to plant larger crops such as corn and pumpkins.

"We are starting really small, with things you can plant and then see and take a bite out of as quickly as possible," Burbridge said.

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