The Garden at HopeBridge in News Hope is giving families in need a chance to help themselves and others. The free community garden allows participants of the HopeBridge Food Shelf to garden in their own 10-foot-by-10-foot plot of soil or to help tend to four plots dedicated entirely to serving the food shelf.
Brian and Kim Trygg are doing a little of both.
"It’s a chance to play in the dirt," Brian says with a laugh. "I like doing it. I've kept gardens in the past."
The Garden at HopeBridge allows him and Kim to return to the hobby they enjoy so much. It also helps them do something they have recently struggled to do -- provide for themselves.
"It’s a bad economy," says Brian. "I’m actually currently unemployed. My job was outsourced about three months ago."
The couple has occasionally had to rely on help from the HopeBridge Food Shelf, located just steps away from the community garden.
"We’ve been through a couple of things, some health issues and such," says Brian. "It’s really good to be there to supplement your shopping list."
Second Harvest and Hope for the City provide fresh produce whenever it’s available.
"We try to offer at least two to three things a week whenever possible," says Holly Nimchuk, HopeBridge Center Director. "That might be salads. It might be apples, potatoes, onions, things like that. Whatever we can offer, everyone is always thrilled when they can get it."
This year, for the first time, HopeBridge is offering another way to pick fresh produce; right out of the community garden.
Nimchuk says the goal of the garden is two-fold.
"One, we wanted to have a way to offer more fresh fruits and vegetables at the food shelf," she says. "[It is] also to provide an opportunity for our families to have their own plots to grow some of the vegetables they prefer, but then also the chance to give back."
HopeBridge provides free access to a plot, gardening tools and gardening assistance. The gardeners provide the plants and labor. The center just asks that 20 percent of the produce grown in each individual plot go back to the food shelf.
"It’s worth it because the yield is good," says Kim Trygg. "And you know you can share with friends and you can give to the food shelf and you can share with family."
There are four plots still available at the Garden at HopeBridge. While many people from the food shelf and New Hope Church, which is affiliated with HopeBridge, are participating in the community garden, the plots are open to anybody.
If you're not interested in taking over a whole plot, you can still help out in other parts of the garden with landscaping, planting or teaching others about gardening. For more information on how you can get involved, call Holly Nimchuk at 763-533-5887.
June 12, 2012