Parkland has joined the growing list of cities to have a community garden, and it has the YMCA to thank for it.
The garden, which opened recently, has 18 beds. Six of them have already been purchased, with Vice Mayor Dave Rosenof and Kristina Stein, a member of the city’s education advisory board, being among the early birds.
The garden is the culmination of an idea that first came up more than two years ago. The original idea was to have it next to the city library but the project did not go beyond the planning stages.
“I cannot believe the interest that is coming from some many directions for the garden,” Sheryl Woods, CEO and president of the YMCA of Broward County, said. “Our goal is to bring people together at the Y so that it becomes the community hub. We are excited to showcase not just the garden but all that the Y has to offer.”
Garden beds have been divided into three themes, with people in the community having the option to pick their choice. While the salsa garden will feature tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno, the pizza garden will have basil, oregano, parsley and tomato. People who buy salad garden beds will grow lettuce, spinach, broccoli, radish, carrot and pole beans.
“We will offer classes in gardening for kids in the community and their families. We have partnerships with Congregation Kol Tikvah’s [Phylis J Green] Early Childhood Education Center and Mary Help of Christians Catholic School. All fourth-graders at Park Trails Elementary will be given seeds to take home; once they sprout, they will be planted in the garden. We have also planted a tree in the garden to honor Commissioner Jay Smith who passed away recently.”
“The garden is less about growing stuff and more about education,” Rosenof, an avid gardener, said. “The tomato is almost an afterthought. We want kids to understand where the vegetables they eat come from. We want to inspire them to have their own little garden in their backyard. We came up with the themes to make it more attractive.”
“We have enough space to double the size of the garden if needed,” Rosenof said. “If it becomes really popular, we will surely be able to increase the number of beds. I am glad we have something like this in the city. Sheryl and I were talking about different ways to bring the Y more into the community when I brought this idea forward. She was all for it.”
“We have beds in two sizes,” Woods, who has purchased a pizza garden, said. “The 4-foot by 4-foot size bed is $500 a year while the 4-foot by 8-foot size is $750. This is not just for Parkland residents; it is open to anyone who has an interest in gardening and teaching kids how to grow their own garden. We have a group of volunteers that will help in maintaining the garden. We meet every two weeks, at 6 p.m. on Monday at the Y.”
“We are looking for sponsorships for naming rights to the garden,” Woods said. “We also want sponsors for the benches in the garden and the outdoor classroom that we want to do. I am confident that we will get the support we need from the community.”
Parkland YMCA Family Center is at 10559 Trails End in Parkland. Call 954-384-9622.