Community Garden to host Fall De’cor Event

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Garden expects to grow 850 pounds of food this season

Harvest Community Garden, a Shell Knob-based outreach ministry focused on providing residents opportunities to grow fresh foods, sharing harvests and promoting healthier diets, is hosting a Fall De'cor Sale and Open House event.

The event will take place on Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and include items such as garden-raised pumpkins, corn stalk bundles (some decorated), glass pumpkin candle holders, clay pot candy dishes, mums, bulbs for fall planting and various fall decorations for sale.

Proceeds will go toward supporting the garden's purchase and installing a garden shed for storage and security of equipment and supplies.

The garden was established in August 2016 by a group of volunteers to help supply food in the Shell Knob area, and aims to involve the community, especially youth, in current agricultural practices, and the community-wide benefits it offers.

Collective gardeners share the largest harvest portion of the garden's produce with those who are unable to acquire fresh vegetables and fruit. By the end of the growing season, the garden will have produced approximately 850 pounds of produce, with 650 pounds donated to the Alliance of Churches Food Pantry, the Senior Center and His House Foundation. There is no charge to participate.

The following youth groups were recognized for their work in the garden:

• The Kid’s Night Out program, which planted in one of the garden's individual beds, helped plant pumpkins in straw bale garden, and sweet potatoes in the in-ground garden.

• Youth from Hood United Methodist Church came to Shell Knob on a mission trip and spent two days working in the garden, building five individual beds, creating an entrance path, mowing, watering and harvesting.

• Shell Knob school children are scheduled to visit on Sept. 29 to participate in activities for Community Give Back Day.

Gardeners are using the latest trends, including straw bale gardening, a practice that conserves water and allows for a raised garden with no weeding. One rainwater storage tank was installed and used to water plants.

According to information provided by Betty Ragland, one of the garden's founders, hunger is an issue in the community, as the USDA Economic Research Center revealed that 15.25 percent of Barry County households are deemed food-insecure. The national average is 12.7 percent or 15.8 million people were food insecure at some time during 2015.

Such households are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, at some time during the year, enough food to meet the needs of all its members due to insufficient funds or resources.

To help meet food shortages in the community, team members are involved with the Alliance of Churches' Food Pantry, the Central Crossing Senior Center and the USDA Food Commodity Program for Barry County.

Ragland said team members give God thanks for the success of the program. In addition, they would like to thank the following donors for funds and supplies in helping support the garden: Jerry and Kathy Husk, memorial funds; Bud and JoAnn Hoehne, memorial funds (funds purchased cinder blocks, solar fencing system, garden hoses and insecticide); David Fielder, landscaping and tilling; Ed and Roberta Gray, garden mulch and use of trailer; Dennis Epperly, rabbit liter; Jerry James, top soil; MFA Agriculture Service in Cassville, fertilizer; Cupps Farms, straw bales; Anita Ambrovitz, tomato plants; Liz Rork, flowers and herbs; Meeks, Boston Fern for memorial bed and eggplants; and Carroll Electric, wood chips.

Harvest Community Garden team includes: Pastor Bill Kenagy, Betty Turner, Nancy Mallomo, Jeanette Cassidy, Paula Anderson, Al and Dianne Mason, Sherry Enyart, Liz Stevenson and Ragland.

Plans for next year include 16 individual raised beds, which will be available to local residents to grow fresh vegetables for their family. The rental fee is $20 and includes free water. Master gardeners are available if help is needed.

Gardener applications are available for the 2018 growing season. Contact a team member, or the church office at 417-858-6707, or email; website; or the church’s Facebook page.

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