Tough times mean a boom in community gardening
Horticulture Educator with the Walworth County UW-Extension office
Home Vegetable Gardening for Beginners -- registration required
1 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 15, In the Activity Center at the Walworth County Fairgrounds
Fourth-Annual Community Plant Swap
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., June 13, Walworth County Government Center, Elkhorn
UW-Extension Office: (608) 757-5696
Tuesday hotline: (608) 752-3885
E-mail help: mike.Maddox@ces.uwex.edu
Bob Fizzell: (608) 365-0096
E-mail help: BobFizz@sbcglobal.net
Merrill Park Community Garden: (608) 289-8500
E-mail help: email@example.com
Jim Hurley: (608) 752-5622
Community gardens organizer Bob Fizzell of Beloit checks on some of the 250 seedlings he started in his backyard for gardens in Beloit.
ELKHORN -- Since the turn of the century, communities across the country have banded together to grow food when the economy sours. Communities in Walworth County are no different, and this recession is no exception.
Locally, old-hat green thumbs and first-time gardeners who are just plain green are getting a number of new community gardens growing.
In Walworth County, UW-Extension educators are seeing an increase in gardeners. For the second year, the office has organized plots on an acre of county land in Elkhorn.
"This year, we have all of the 51 plots rented to local citizens," said Christine Regester, horticulture educator with the county's extension office. "Several of them are returning from last year, yet nearly 30 are new to our community garden."
Mike Maddox agrees. The Rock County University of Wisconsin-Extension horticulture educator works with community gardens throughout the county, including plots off of Wisconsin Highway 14 in Janesville and a garden worked by Rock County Jail inmates. For the second year in a row, the Rock County Community Garden has more gardeners than space.
"Every time we're in a major recession - especially in a time of war - there's a resurgence," said Maddox, who also is the director of education for the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville. "Based on what's happened in the past, there's a strong correlation between the resurgence of vegetable gardens and times of economic downturn."
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