Group Brings Agriculture into the City
COLUMBIA- Volunteers came out today to help out at a new garden in the heart of Columbia. Just eight months ago the garden was a grass lot. Now, it is a fully functional urban garden. The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture rents the property from Mark Stevenson and REMI, but relies on volunteers to help maintain it. Billy Polansky, who serves on the center's board of directors, credits the volunteers for the garden's early success.
"We worked real hard," Polansky said. "There were a lot of volunteers that came out and helped and we are slowly developing the land."
Just eight months from the purchase date of the land, the area is turning into a "demo garden." Polansky wants it to be an example for the community.
"We want to show people what they can do in their yard," Polansky said.
The Center for Urban Agriculture's wants the community to learn about urban agriculture while volunteering at the garden. Residents can learn how to plant and care for various vegetables and berries. They even have an area to learn about raising chickens. Community members are not the only ones learning at the garden.
A few MU students have internships where they also learn about horticulture. Ashly Matthews is one of those students working as an intern. She says she will use what she learns at the garden well after she graduates.
"Being out here lets me see how the crops are suppose to look," Matthews said. "That way I know when things are ready to be pulled and ready to sell."
Polansky says the center is always looking for volunteers to help at the garden. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are big days for the garden because produce is sold. All the money from sales goes back to the Center for Urban Agriculture to help maintain the garden and fund community education events.
"We really want the community to learn how to garden in their own yard," Polansky said. "Our seminars help us work toward that goal."
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