Friday, June 18, 2010

Hope is on the way

Hunger Coalition brings together community through garden


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

The Hunger Coalition’s Hope Garden springs to life. Photo by David N. Seelig

"Strawberry fields forever" is one of the goals the Hunger Coalition hopes to achieve with the creation of the Hope Garden in Hailey. The garden will further the organization's mission to provide good and fresh food to the hungry in Blaine County.

The Hope Garden, at First Avenue and Walnut Street, is a downtown Hailey garden as well as a community park. Through volunteer work parties and donations, the garden is taking shape, but much remains to be done.

"This year is our start year," said Hallie Reikowsky, garden educator and manager. "Next year we will be in full production."

When completed, the garden will have an orchard, perennial flower gardens, a vegetable patch and herb gardens. The garden will also include pathways and room for a free-standing shed.

"An orchard is not typical of a community garden," Reikowsky said. "This is a massive collaborative effort for food to go to the hungry."

Reikowsky's enthusiasm for the garden is addictive, evident by the dedicated group of volunteers who enjoy working there even in downpours. In addition, the garden has received many donations from local businesses, including Native Landscapes, Webb Landscape and Garden Centers, Sun Valley Garden Center, Big Wood Landscaping, Wood River Organics Recycling, Clearwater Nursery and Sawtooth Wood Products.

The garden has also received a grant of $28,500 from the Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation. Hayward sisters Hope and Wendy ensured that the Hunger Coalition received the grant, which provided essential funding for infrastructure and implementation of the garden.

Reikowsky said several Hunger Coalition clients who receive food also volunteer to build the garden.

Reikowsky has planned a series of work parties to lead up to the Thursday, June 24, ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will take place at the garden at 5 p.m. The event will include live music from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

"We have so much to do," Reikowsky said. "Plenty will need to be done after the ribbon cutting."

Donations to the Hope Garden are appreciated, especially of hoes. In addition, the garden is in need of a shed.

For details, call 788-0121 or visit thehungercoalition.org.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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