Community

Marysville's ‘Giving Gardens’ help those in need

MARYSVILLE — Students, professional gardeners and other community members are once again teaming up to provide some fresh produce to those in need.

For the past two years the Marysville Community Food Bank has encouraged citizens to plant rows for the hungry, growing their own “Giving Gardens,” while Marysville high school students have tended to a community garden adjacent to the Sunnyside Nursery on an almost weekly basis. As an admittedly inhospitable spring slowly turns into a slightly warmer summer, these volunteers are sowing their seeds once more.

“The last two years I’ve had three plots at the community garden where I grew veggies for the food bank,” said JoAnn Sewell, who coordinates volunteers for the Marysville Community Food Bank and runs its “Giving Gardens” program. “This year, I’m going to do six. In the two years this program has been running, it’s proven to be a great success but a lot of people still don’t know that they can donate their homegrown produce to the food bank.”

Sewell credited Steve Smith and his staff at the Sunnyside Nursery with helping tremendously, starting with their donation of the land for the community garden, while Sunnyside Nursery staff member Melissa Volk was quick to share that credit with the students and teachers of the International School of Communications at Marysville Getchell High School.

“DeJong Sawdust and Shavings dropped off the soil and Consolidated Landscapes shaped it into beds,” Volk said. “The garden also has a nice sign that was donated by Vinyl Signs and Banners last year. The high school students started work on the garden in a space that we weren’t using.”

ISC teachers Emily Lefstad and Janice Clancy have coordinated the students’ efforts, but they attribute the garden’s ever-increasing yields of donated vegetables to the commitment of the approximately 50 student volunteers themselves.

“It’s nice to get a little dirty to help the community,” said Colin Sanders, an ISC junior who returned to the garden this year.

“I wanted to see what it was like,” said Elizabeth Holiway, an ISC freshman who came out to the garden for the first time on April 30. “It’s been muddy so far,” she laughed.

“These kids have generated more than 5,000 pounds of produce over the years,” said Volk, who noted that Smith will be providing an extra incentive for Sunnyside Nursery customers to grow “Giving Gardens” for the food bank. In honor of Sunnyside’s 63rd anniversary, anyone who drops off 63 pounds of homegrown produce to the food bank will receive a $25 gift certificate for 2012 at Sunnyside.

“The food bank will take down their names and addresses, and keep records of their contributions,” Volk said. “As not all gardeners ask for records, people should be careful to make sure their names and pounds of homegrown donations get written down with each drop-off if they want to be eligible for Sunnyside gift certificates. Early next year, we’ll get the names of people who have made the mark of 63 pounds over this season and we’ll write out the $25 vegetable gardening gift certificates and give the food bank stamped envelopes to send off before the growing season kicks into gear.”

Sunnyside Nursery is located at 3915 Sunnyside Blvd. in Marysville and can be reached at 425-334-2002. The Marysville Community Food Bank is located at 4150 88th St. NE and can be reached at 360-658-1054.

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