Spring 2017 brought an entirely new identity and purpose to the former East Recreation Center skate park space: A community garden! The project had East Recreation staff feverishly measuring spaces, ordering supplies, coordinating workers (200-plus volunteer hours), soliciting participation and funding ($5,080 raised), and stacking many, many cinder blocks (4,536 to be exact) that would become the center’s raised garden beds. By May, organizers had all 50 of the plots built and claimed. Since then, gardeners have been planting, watering, mulching, tending, and harvesting their produce. The once unused concrete dessert has become a colorful, lush, productive garden — home to countless vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits and a space where gardeners get their hands dirty, work hard, and enjoy each other’s company.
Organizers have reached the point in the season where current gardeners confirm whether they’d like to return for the 2018 season. If there are any open plots by November 1, orgizers offer them to new gardeners. If you are interested in having a plot, please register at www.cityofwinona.com at the “Park and Recreation” link, then click “online registration” and search for “garden waitlist.” You may also call to register at 507-457-8258. There is no fee to be on the waitlist and registrants will be contacted by December 1 if they have received a plot for the 2018 season.
Organizers would like to extend thanks to the many people that made this garden happen: Winona Community Foundation, Winona County SHIP Program, city manager Steve Sarvi, The Winona Farm, Green Earth Compost, Restorative Justice, Jan Taylor, Bruno Borsari, city of Winona tree crew and maintenance crew, Riverway Learning Community volunteers, WSU and St. Mary’s student volunteers, Park and Recreation staff, and of course … the gardeners!
For more information, please call the Winona Park and Recreation office at 507-457-8258 or visit www.cityofwinona.com.