Sponsors and Volunteers Needed as Vinita Community Gardens Project Kicks Off
Grand Nation and Saint Francis Hospital in Vinita are teaming up to create a community garden to provide fresh, nutritious produce to those in need.
After two years of planning, the dream of having a community garden in Vinita will soon be a reality.
Grand Nation and Saint Francis Hospital in Vinita have teamed up to develop a community garden that will provide fresh, nutritious produce for those in need in the Vinita community, while also promoting healthier lifestyles.
Organizers are asking for the community’s help as they kick off the Community Gardens project with a “Plant a Seed for Those in Need” fundraising campaign. Businesses, organizations, churches and individuals are invited to be a part of this community initiative by adopting a garden bed.
Sponsors who adopt a garden bed will receive 50 percent of the produce grown with the remainder distributed to the community through Grand Nation.
The first local business to support the Community Gardens project was Saint Francis Hospital in Vinita, which donated a 40 foot by 60 foot plot of land for the garden. The hospital is also supplying water to the garden.
Located at 495 West Hope Ave., the Vinita community garden is a project of Grand Nation’s Community Gardens division. It will be overseen by Grand Nation Project Manager Mike Price and Greg McCann with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
"While working with Grand Nation on a food distribution, I saw the individuals show up as they were giving away fresh vegetables and I had the thought, ‘Why don’t we grow something locally?’” McCann said. “I’m a big advocate for common sense solutions and, with a community garden, we could provide people with the option of affordable vegetables while also promoting eating healthy.”
Through his work as a health education supervisor, McCann knew how successful community gardens were in the communities of Pryor and Jay, so he believed the idea would work in Vinita.
Price, a home gardener for more than 40 years, and McCann both see the community garden as a cost-effective way to help provide quality, affordable produce to those most in need in the Vinita community.
Both men cited the Pryor Creek Community Garden, which donated more than 185 pounds of produce in 2017, as an example of what is possible with the Community Gardens project.
“The community garden is a way to help the community develop a valuable source for nutritious food and help people change their eating habits to a healthier eating lifestyle,” Price said. “It is also about giving people a hand-up instead of a hand-out. Those who receive help from Grand Nation will be encouraged to work in the garden. They’ll get some fresh veggies and learn something too.”
Thanks to the generous donation by Saint Francis Hospital of Vinita, the land and water for the garden is now in place. The next step is building the garden, which will have 18 raised garden beds— 12 4-by-8 beds and six 4-by-4 beds.
To maximize output while minimizing the workload, a lot of research has gone into the planning of the garden. Concrete blocks will be used to create the raised beds, which are easier to tend. Matting will be used under the beds to block the growth of weeds and grass and a special “magic dirt” planting medium mixed with essential elements will be used to boost production.
Fencing will soon be going up around the garden on Hope Avenue. Construction is set to begin as soon as funding is received for supplies. With the end of the current growing season nearing, organizers hope to get the beds built as soon as possible.
Three levels of sponsorships are available — $1,000 Harvester, $500 Cultivator and $100 Fertilizer. In addition to the garden beds, sponsorship will include signage and other recognition.
Organizers are also looking for volunteers, with or without gardening experience, to help build and/or maintain the garden.
For more information on Community Gardens sponsorship opportunities or how to volunteer at the garden, contact Grand Nation at (918) 609-0236 or Mike Price at (918) 244-5626.
Sponsorship of the Community Gardens project is a donation to Grand Nation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is tax deductible.
ABOUT GRAND NATION
Grand Nation is a nonprofit grassroots coalition that has been serving the Grand Lake area since 2012. An umbrella organization for a number of different programs, Grand Nation joins families seeking a better life with the resources and community organizations that can help them achieve their goal. Located at 120 E. Illinois, Suite 306, in Vinita, Grand Nation serves the communities of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, including Vinita, Grove, Jay, Afton, Ketchum, Langley, Miami, Bluejacket and Spavinaw. The phone number is (918) 276-2192.