Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2017

Brighton opens community garden

By XIOMARA LEVSEN | Jul 10, 2014
Photo by: XIOMARA LEVSEN Louise Frakes, left, and Shirley Schooley pick zucchini from the Brighton Community Garden on South Jefferson Street. Both Frakes and Schooley work almost daily in the garden pulling weeds and harvesting produce.

BRIGHTON (GTNS) —After two years of planning, Brighton has a community garden.

The idea for a community garden was initiated after Brighton was identified as a Horizon Community in 2008, said Nancy Adrian, administrative assistant at the Washington County Extension office. Horizon communities were a partnership with the Iowa State University Extension offices and were funded through a grant with the Northwest Foundation.

This was one of the most recent projects resulting from the $10,000 grant Brighton received when they were identified as a Horizon Community, Adrian said.

Two years ago Louise Frakes and Shirley Schooley began planning and plotting out the community garden. This year they contacted the local churches to see if anyone would be willing to donate land as a location for the garden.

Rick Zickefoose, pastor at Brighton United Church, asked his congregation if someone would be willing to donate a small parcel of land for the community garden. Lee Schafer, who’s a member of the congregation, offered some of his land on South Jefferson Street.

Once a location was found for the community garden, Frakes and Schooley began looking for donations for plants and seeds and had some success, Frakes said. Seeds came from the Iowa State University Extension office and Hy-Vee, plants were also donated by Hy-Vee, and money for tools from the Washington County Department of Public Health.

“It’s a good-sized spot and a good location,” Frakes said, “and it’s all organic.”

Some of the items planted in the garden include corn, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, herbs, watermelon, and zucchini, Frakes said.

“We have now given away our first produce,” Frakes said.

Working in the garden for Schooley is not a chore, but a pleasure, she said.

“I’m the one on my knees pulling weeds,” Schooley said. “I get down on my knees and work two to two and a half hours. I enjoy being outside.”

Esther Hillyer has volunteered in the garden on a regular basis. She donated some cabbage and has pulled weeds in the garden.

“I enjoy working it that’s what I like,” Hillyer said. “I have a small garden at my home also.”

Both Frakes and Schooley said the garden is doing well, but would like more volunteers from the Brighton area to help with weeding and harvesting.

“We’ve got the garden now,” Frakes said. “Now, it’s just been a matter of trying to get people to help. At first we didn’t get any response but now we have a long list of people who have helped. Monday night we had our first work night in the garden and 11 people showed up, which was a lot. “

Monday nights will continue to be a work night in the garden, Frakes said. If someone would like to volunteer they can show up on Monday night, call her, or email her at louisefrakes@me.com.

Frakes would also like residents to know the items from the garden are for them, whether or not they work in the garden.

“If they want food or need food the garden is there,” she said. “We’ll take the food to anybody who wants some. If we can at least help provide some food for them then that’s good.”

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