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Community Gardens of Hancock County and Men’s and Women’s Garden Club Join Forces

The Community Gardens of Hancock County program is accepting applications for the 2018 garden season with the inclusion of free membership to the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Findlay for all who apply.
“Now is the time to think spring and gardening,” says Heather Heilman, president of the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Findlay and former coordinator for the Community Gardens of Hancock County.

“With the gray skies and the average high in Findlay being somewhere around bone-chilling cold since the beginning of January, it is the perfect time to be thinking about what you want to achieve in your yard or garden this year,” Heilman said. “I find the planning process is a great escape from the current weather and creates a feeling of hope and excitement knowing that winter can only last so many more days.”

The Community Gardens of Hancock County is located at 1800 N. Blanchard St. and anyone can apply for a plot. Because the garden’s mission is to educate and equip individuals to be food secure and work in harmony with their neighbor, low- to moderate-income families or those on assistance are especially encouraged to apply and given preference. Agencies, organizations, churches or youth groups that want to grow a plot and donate at least a portion of the produce to those serving food to insecure households may apply as well.

There is a $20 participation fee for each household. A $10 refund will be provided if the garden plot is maintained and cleaned at the end of the season. This fee is waived if the gardener is on any type of financial assistance.
To offer support to the community gardeners, the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Findlay’s free membership provides the opportunity for monthly community interaction with other gardeners, whether they be a novice or experienced. The garden club’s mission; to promote beautification of our homes and community, to improve our member’s gardening skills and enjoyment and to stimulate interest in others to improve as or to become gardeners, is a compliment to the community garden’s mission.

“The club theme this year is “Growing a Gardener” because we want to encourage those who have thought about any type of gardening -flower, vegetable, container, etc.- the courage to try knowing they have a supportive group they can speak with on an ongoing and regular basis,” Heilman said.

 “Gardening can be quite overwhelming for beginners. Successful gardening or ‘having a green thumb’ comes from a combination of education and experience,” said Tim Stumpp, former Community Gardens of Hancock County advisory board member.

Applications can be filled out online at http://liveunitedhancockcounty.org/community-gardens and will be accepted through Feb. 28. Applications are also available at the following locations: The Family Center (1800 N. Blanchard St.) and United Way of Hancock County (245 Stanford Pkwy.) Plots are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis with preference given to those on assistance.

The Community Gardens of Hancock County began as a collaborative effort of the following groups: United Way of Hancock County, MENTOR Initiative, Hancock County Sustainability Coalition, Ohio State University Extension, Hancock County Master Gardener Volunteers, and The Findlay-Hancock Community Foundation. It is now under the management of the United Way’s Halt Hunger Initiative and is working toward its goal to educate and equip individuals and families to be food secure.
Gardeners can anticipate planting their gardens in late April or early May depending on the weather. The gardens remain open through mid-October. Gardeners are expected to weed and maintain their plot to encourage harmony in the gardens.

Master Gardener volunteers are available to answer questions and guide gardeners through the process from planning to planting to harvesting.

For more information about the gardens or the club, contact United Way of Hancock County at 419-423-1432 or email Heather Heilman, community impact director at heather.heilman@uwhancock.org.