The Lewes Community Garden recently celebrated its one-year anniversary as a truly established and fully planted garden, envisioned four years ago by a small group of local citizens.
This milestone reflects the concerted effort of garden members and volunteers to ensure that donated labor, money and materials were put to the best use for the greater Lewes area.
Three years of organizing went into identifying and securing a location for the garden. In 2019, the Lewes Parks and Recreation Commission and Lewes City Council approved the establishment of the garden at 366 Park Road in Great Marsh Park near the University of Delaware.
With hard work of many volunteers, land was cleared, garden perimeters were established, deer and critter fencing was erected, and underground water piping for the garden was donated by Harry Caswell, while compost and soil for newly built raised beds was donated by Grizzly’s Landscaping. More than $20,000 was raised in grants and donations for the community garden.
With the help of newsletters and a volunteer-maintained website, the board keeps everyone informed of the garden’s progress and activities. During its first year, the number of garden beds doubled, an herb garden was created, and native plants are being identified for nurturing. Some 30 families are currently participating in the garden.
This effort comes along with a commitment to give back to the community. A number of the garden plots – five this year – are designated as community beds. Produce from these community beds as well as produce from other beds in the garden, nonperishable food and homemade face masks are donated to the Community Resource Center every Monday. Since April, approximately 90 pounds of fresh produce has been donated.
Even though the COVID pandemic brought significant changes in how the garden volunteers operate, it has not changed the mission of the Lewes Community Garden to provide accessible garden opportunities for all ages, teach organic garden practices, share knowledge and friendship, and give back to the larger community.
For more information, go to www.lewescommunitygarden.org. The Lewes Community Gardeners are a component fund of the Greater Lewes Foundation.