Greeley accepting applications for open plots at community gardens | TheFencePost.com

Greeley accepting applications for open plots at community gardens

Trenton Sperry | For The Fence Post

Yani Hata-Mickells digs a plastic orange shovel into the soil of a rectangle garden plot. After a few minutes, the shovel seems like an unnecessary burden to the 21-month-old toddler. Her tiny fist grabs a chunk of dirt and places it gently into a plastic blue pail.

In the early stages of planting season, this is the extent to which Yani helps her parents in their family plot at a community garden in Greeley, Colo.

In a few months, she'll be plucking tomatoes from the vine and sinking the few teeth she has into them.

"When we were pregnant with her, she was always at the garden with us," said Darci Hata, Yani's mother. "Now, she loves it. She tried to eat a worm last year. It was kind of humorous."

“We always go to the same, small little grocery store, so they know us. They know we’re never there in the summer, and it’s because we don’t need to buy produce then. We end up getting all our produce through our garden.”Darci Hata

Recommended Stories For You

There are 10 community gardens in Greeley, and applications are currently being accepted by the city for open plots. The cost $25 per year to cultivate.

Yani joins her mom and dad, Ian Mickells, at their community garden plots at least once per week. The family grows all kinds of produce — last year they were able to gather about 50 pounds of beets and 25 pounds of onions.

But participating in the community gardens brings a larger bounty than just fruits and vegetables, Hata said.

"We live in a condo, so we really don't have a place to garden," she said. "I didn't realize it, but community lacks in condos. It's a place you go in, shut the door and everyone else you don't worry about.

"That's why we're here, because everybody wants a community. That's what we lacked."

The family has plots in two Greeley locations, one of which is the Ubuntu Community Gardens and Orchard behind Family of Christ Presbyterian, 2410 35th Ave.

"Each garden offers you something different," Hata said. "At the West Greeley Baptist Church, we have tons of space so we get to grow a lot and we produce a lot. Here at Ubuntu, we get to grow quite a bit, but also it's about the community, and that means a lot to us."

Aside from the cost of reserving a plot, Hata said her family typically spends about $40-$50 per year on seeds for their two plots. Those are the only costs they incur.

"Pretty much during the whole growing season we're saving a ton of money," Hata said. "We always go to the same, small little grocery store, so they know us. They know we're never there in the summer, and it's because we don't need to buy produce then. We end up getting all our produce through our garden."

Ubuntu also hosts workshops and community-building sessions Wednesday nights at the church.

Those sessions will soon be open to everyone in Greeley, which Mickells said is a great opportunity for new gardeners to learn a few tips and tricks from those with a little more experience.

In all, Hata said, the gardens are a win-win for the entire community.

"We're eating organic, good food that comes straight from the earth," she said. "Plus, we were able to find people with similar interests and Yani's been able to have really good friends. You can't beat that." ❖

To apply

To apply for a plot at a community garden in Greeley, contact Deborah Deboutez at the city of Greeley’s Neighborhood Resource Office at (970) 336-4167 or email deborah.deboutez@greeleygov.com. For more information about community gardens in Greeley, go to http://tinyurl.com/greeleygardens.

Many of the city’s 10 gardens are already full, but some plots are still available. Plots are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, but the city maintains a waiting list and will contact those interested when plots become available.

Gardening workshops

The Ubuntu Community Gardens and Orchard hosts gardening workshops and other community-building activities every Wednesday night at Family of Christ Presbyterian, 2410 35th St. in Greeley.

For more information about the events, call (970) 330-0301.