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Oxford Community Garden Offers LOU residents a Place to Grow

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor

alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

The Oxford Community Garden provides areas for members to grow their own produce. Photo via Sam Lisi

The Oxford Community Garden was formed in 2009 after local resident Susie Adams had seen them in other places and thought it would be a good way to let people grow vegetables in the LOU community.

Oxford leaders agreed with Adams and donated the land for the garden, located behind the Old Armory Pavilion and proves water and some manpower to maintain the grounds around the garden.

A Community Garden can provide a green space in town that is beautiful, be used to grow vegetables for donation to the needy, and give children the opportunity to garden.

“These are all goals in our mission statement, and so these are what we do,” said Volunteer Garden Manager Tiffany Bensen.

The Community Garden collects a small membership fee from members that helps to provide gardening tools, compost and plot borders.

Chive blossoms grown at the OCG. Photo by Sam Lisi

“Anyone who wants to garden can pay to be a member, and pay a small plot fee for the year and all they’ll need to bring is seeds or transplants,” Bensen said.

The garden offers three main plot sizes – a 4×8, a 10×16 and a 16×16. There are also 3×3 plots available for children that are free to garden members. The price of renting a plot ranges from $15 to $40 and there is a $10 annual membership fee. Members are expected to maintain their plots and participate in monthly workdays to maintain the garden area.

The Community Garden invites those who want more information about holding a plot for the upcoming growing season to attend the OCG’s annual meeting, being held Feb. 21 via Zoom. During the meeting, new and potential members can ask questions and learn how to join and register for a plot. An in-person orientation meeting will be held on March 5.

While gardening can provide fresh produce to enjoy at home and share with family and friends, gardener Sam Lisi said it has also helped him “grow mental health.”

“What veggies I manage not to kill are a nice bonus,” he said.

Lisi started growing at the Community Garden in the fall of 2014, shortly after moving to Oxford. His residence at the time lacked enough sunshine in his yard to grow at home and so he joined the Community Garden with a 4×8 plot.

“I’ve tried growing all sorts of things over the years,” he said. “Not everything has been successful to say the least, and some of it was just too much trouble to do again (popcorn!). Right now, I have elephant garlic, garlic, chives and strawberries growing. I plan on planting some lettuce and snap peas in early/mid-February, maybe I’ll also try some Chinese cabbage this year.”

Sam Lisi started growing at the Community Garden in the fall of 2014. Photo by Sam Lisi

Lisi said by joining the garden, he’s learned from more knowledgeable gardeners and has worked with fellow members to also help the community.

“We have community workdays the first Saturday of every month to take care of communal areas of the garden,’ he said. “I really like these workdays; weeding by yourself can feel like a real chore, but it is fun to do as a group.”

Workdays also include helping with the Community Harvest Project, where some of the gardeners grow food to donate to The Pantry in Oxford, which provides food for those in need.

“I find that gardening provides a really great mental and emotional balance in my life. My work is very abstract and mostly on a computer or in a classroom, so I benefit a lot from getting my hands dirty, in the sun, with some physical activity,” he said. “It also feels like the biggest accomplishment in the world to serve your friends and family a bowl of strawberries that you grew yourself, or to feed them a salad whose ingredients you grew.”

To register for the annual Zoom meeting, or to get more information on how to join the Oxford Community Garden, visit them online or send an email to oxfordcga@gmail.com.


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