Tomatoes, carrots and herbs will soon be sprouting from a community garden in Greenwood, and by this summer, they will be headed to food pantries and churches to feed families in need.
The goal of the project, spearheaded by Karen Burr, a holistic health coordinator at Studio 135 Salon and Spa, and Leanne Schleuter, a local chiropractor at Greenwood Family Chiropractic, is to plant produce and give it to homeless shelters, food pantries and churches.
Over the weekend, about 50 volunteers brought their gardening tools and planted seeds for more than 10 different types of vegetables in Greenwood’s community garden. The garden off Fry Road has been used by residents for 10 years who want to have a space to grow vegetables or herbs.
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Schleuter and Burr are renting two 20-by-20-foot plots of land and growing tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and more fresh produce.
Produce will be taken to The Vineyard, a Greenwood church, once it is ready to be picked, Schleuter said. The produce will be given to local food pantries and homeless shelters in Indianapolis where it can be served or passed out to families in need, Schleuter said.
Burr wanted to find a cost efficient way where fresh, healthy foods could be donated to shelters, churches and food pantries. She also wanted to ignite interest in community gardens, hoping that people who got involved would learn an easy, inexpensive way to eat healthy, she said.
Burr’s first idea was to start a community garden in Greenwood, not knowing the city already had one, Burr said. Then, she and Schleuter focused their energy on recruiting residents and businesses for donations and volunteers to plant the two plots they rented at the existing community garden. Schleuter and Burr spent about a month going to businesses, passing out flyers, telling their patients and reaching out to the community for support.
At least seven local businesses donated, raising about $250 in donations, Burr said. Ten dollars buys nine to 10 plants, Burr said.
“By next year, I want to have four garden plots (at Greenwood),” Burr said. “We plan to do a lot of outreach. We plan on making this a thing. I would love to get all the communities from across the county to do this.”
The two want to use the community garden in Franklin for the same purpose, and visit other communities to work with them to create a community garden if they don’t already have one, Burr said. The pair also wants to encourage local schools to use their property to teach students how to garden, while also growing fresh produce that can be used by the school, Burr said.
For the Greenwood garden, Burr is asking residents to volunteer their time to helping with the plots. The garden requires about an hour of watering and weeding about two times per week, Burr said.
Burr and Schleuter were at the garden Sunday with residents and members from The Vineyard church for almost two hours planting.
The amount of people who wanted to help by donating was overwhelming, Schleuter said. But what was most inspiring was watching the people who came on Sunday to plant the garden, Schleuter said.
“I think people were excited about giving back,” Schleuter said. “Anytime you can serve a bigger purpose, that’s when people like to get engaged. Everyone was just excited to be there.”
Volunteers and donations are needed for a garden growing vegetables, which will be donated to local food pantries:
If you would like to make donations, or volunteer your time, contact Karen Burr at KlynnBurr@gmail.com.