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YMCA awarded grant for raised garden beds

Posted on Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 9:11 pm

The Eastern Missouri Family YMCA was awarded a grant from the University of Missouri Extension to install up to five raised community garden beds along the south border of the property.

Carrie Elsen MSN, RN, Nutrition and Health, MU Extension Health and Human Science, applied for funding for the program and delivered all materials, except the soil and plants, last fall. The City of Vandalia board of aldermen approved the installation because the YMCA sits on city-owned property.

With this being garden time, the staff of the YMCA are looking for community volunteers, organizations, youth groups, churches, and families to help them get the ground ready, install the beds, and plant vegetables.

This program is available to the entire Vandalia community, and it will require all the necessary steps to produce a successful garden such as watering, weeding, removing foliage, and harvesting. Remember that this program is available for all volunteers; membership in the Y is not a requirement.

The raised beds will initially include a variety of tomatoes and green peppers. The staff said they would consider planting other vegetables such as green beans, onions, and radishes. The type of vegetables will depend on the timing of the installation beds and receipt of the soil.

Elsen emphasized that the produce would be available for everyone in the community to harvest and take home, whether they can help with any of the preliminary work to grow the vegetables or not.

A bonus to the program could include basic cooking tips and recipes for the vegetables that are grown. This program is for the community by the community, Elsen said, and the YMCA is excited to see how the program grows, but we need your help to get started.

“To be successful,” she said, “we will need several volunteers and experienced gardeners to give us tips and tricks to have a bountiful harvest for all. And we need to begin soon.

Anyone interested is welcome to call, 573-594-2208, or stop by the YMCA for more information and talk to Debbie about how they can help Vandalia’s Community Garden grow in 2024.