Building community from the ground up

By October 5, 2020 November 8th, 2020 Faces of DUG

#12: Meet Meredith, Sunshine Community Garden

“I began gardening in my backyard and fell in love with the process of watching things miraculously grow out of the earth. As a dietitian, I love to eat good food to keep my body healthy, and there is nothing better than eating the food you grew yourself! Working for WIC, I had seen community gardens run in partnership with local WIC offices, so when I was approached at Jeffco to help manage and coordinate the start of a community garden onsite, I didn’t hesitate to accept the challenge. I helped start the Sunshine Community Garden in 2018 and had a garden plot for the first two years. Now, my time spent in the garden is dedicated to helping others, from teaching them how to manage our compost pile to how to pull up goat heads from our pathways.

DUG was instrumental in making the Sunshine Community Garden a reality. We knew we wanted a community garden onsite with the Jeffco WIC office and the Jeffco Head Start preschool to engage and serve the families who are at our campus. It was when we partnered with DUG that our dreams began to turn into actions! Their fantastic staff helped us acquire grant funding and coordinate volunteers. DUG provided expert design and project management to help us break ground and get our garden built. They helped us reach out to the families on campus and in the surrounding communities to invite them to join our garden.
Now, they attend our garden advisory committee meetings, supply seeds and seedlings through their Grow a Garden program, and guide everything from plot planning, composting, and communicating with a diverse group of gardeners down to how to engage young gardeners. Our garden community wouldn’t be as strong without the support of DUG!

Being part of a community garden has given me a platform for learning, sharing knowledge, supporting others, and working hard for what I believe is right. I’ve made friends with my gardeners and am so happy to see them in the garden and chat about their favorite tomato variety or what insect might be eating their plants. My gardeners were some of the first people outside of my family I interacted with after COVID forced us to work from home in March. I showed up in my mask, ready to serve them, welcome them, and hand out seeds and seedlings. The garden has been a place of community in the past, and this year has challenged us in building community in the absence of garden gatherings. Yet we have managed to build something, and it grows and towers with its beauty.”

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