Millennials plant seed for great idea with community garden

Though the ground is hard now and a cold Nebraska winter approaches, the seeds have been sown for a unique new project in Aurora which has all kinds of promise and potential.
Energetic members of a new Aurora Garden Club, led by millennials with a fresh perspective and lots of creative ideas, have announced plans for a community garden to take root in the spring. As reported in a story in this week’s edition, Memorial Hospital gave the concept a running start by offering a piece of land to use along Highway 34 north of the hospital, thus a health-based partnership has been born.
We see nothing but positives growing from this idea, as a community garden could invite folks young and old to get their hands dirty and engage in a worthwhile venture. Incorporating freshly-grown vegetables into the family diet is part of the goal, one of many spin-off ideas the group hopes to nurture in the years ahead. Half the produce grown would be donated to the local food pantry, school or MCHI, sharing the fruits of this volunteer labor as yet another positive aspect of a health-based initiative.
The plot of ground and plans are in place, which means the “community” aspect of this project now needs to engage by signing up to participate or making a donation. Garden club members are offering their knowledge, manpower and organizational skills to do much of the heavy lifting, making it easier for novice green thumbs to jump on board.
Based on the club’s research, there are approximately 110 community gardens around the country. Interestingly, communities served by healthcare-based gardens had similar demographic characteristics, but significantly lower rates of obesity (27 percent compared to 34 percent.) That’s a statistic worth noting, and a goal worth striving for.
Just like the garden itself, this concept will need lots of attention to flourish, long-term. It’s off to a very good start, thanks to a group of young leaders willing to share their passion for gardening in a most productive way.
Kurt Johnson

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