Community garden good for downtown

Our community is growing in more ways than one, thanks to some dedicated volunteers.

The visions of the Rev. Jason Elliott of the First Westminster Presbyterian Church and its community outreach director, Sam Gibb, are coming to fruition through a community garden in downtown Steubenville.

The two gentlemen approached the Steubenville Board of Education for permission to put at least 20 wooden raised garden beds on the site of the former Wells School. And on a recent warm day, the two men, along with some other volunteers, could be seen constructing those raised beds.

Their hope is to fill the beds with fruits and vegetables and care for the plants throughout the growing season. That’s where more volunteers come in.

Already on board are some members of the Community Garden committee, as well as parishioners with First Westminister and the Center of Hope Friendship Room, Urban Mission Ministries and the Unity Garden, which has offered a community garden downtown in the past and will continue this year, but is moving its garden to a different location. And our Steubenville firefighters will help to make sure the garden is watered in the waning days of summer.

Donations of top soil, heirloom plants, compost, more wood and other basic items are being sought, and any help will be much appreciated, we’re sure.

According to Elliott, the raised beds garden will bring homegrown food to many, but also he’s hoping relationships will be formed along the way. “Since we started building the raised beds … we have probably had 40 people stop by to offer encouragement and suggestions and help,” he noted.

Plans call for organizing different teams, one for each day of the week, to take care of the gardens, by feeding, watering and weeding them. Produce will include tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini and beans, as well as herbs for use in the Urban Mission kitchen.

In the process, organizers say it’s their mission to teach people how to grow food, not just hand it out, and we believe that’s a true advantage.

Anyone is welcome to make a financial donation to the community garden at First Westminster Presbyterian Church, 235 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, OH 43952, but donations of labor or supplies are welcome, too.

We, too, are hoping the newest community garden in Steubenville will prosper and grow.