Success of community plots (Google / The Columbian)

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City cultivates garden locations

Vancouver opens more space for community plots

By Andrea Damewood

Columbian Staff Writer

Look out Bono: Community gardens are the hottest ticket in town.

Last year, Vancouver’s 200 community garden plots sold out in just four hours. Turns out, folks in Clark County interested in growing their own groceries seem to be cropping up faster than the pesky dandelions their brothers-in-dirt lament.

So for this growing season, the city has added new plots and beds to its four existing community gardens, and is opening the new 24-plot Haagen Community Park Garden on Northeast Ninth Street. The work is covered by a $5,000 grant from the Parks Foundation of Clark County and $40,000 in city funding.

The city is also hosting a forum Tuesday for those interested in starting even more public gardens, this time in their neighborhood parks.

“It’s a pretty hot topic right now — buying local food, growing your own food and getting in touch with your roots,” said Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation manager Jane Tesner Kleiner, apologizing for the pun.


The results stem from a community meeting held last April, where more than 125 people said they wanted more space in which to garden and more help on getting started, she said.

And starting Jan. 23, Washington State University Vancouver, Clark County Public Health and others are presenting “Growing your own Groceries,” a class on how to get those tomatoes and potatoes to prosper.

“A lot of people have this fear when it comes to gardening. It can be somewhat intimidating for a newcomer,” said Ariel Rivers, AmeriCorps garden coordinator with the county. “At same time, it’s something people can do very easily in backyards to save money or increase health.”

For $50, the class will educate green thumb wannabes on soil, watering, plant selection and pest control in four four-hour sessions, she said. Participants will also learn to mentor others in their neighborhoods or community gardens, Rivers said.

Tesner Kleiner said all of the new spots and classes reflect the nationwide interest in homegrown food.


Vancouver’s five community gardens are: the Haagen Community Park Garden; the Marshall Community Park Garden, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd.; the Campus Garden at Campus Drive and 65th Avenue; and the Ellsworth Road Garden at S.E. 10th Street and Ellsworth Road.


Andrea Damewood

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.