Friday, July 19, 2019 Medina 87°
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Nonprofit developing community garden in Medina

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MEDINA — A nonprofit group in Medina plans on creating a garden where individuals, families and groups can grow produce for themselves and community food banks.

SustainEd created Plant for Our Future: a community garden project. Leah Cusick, Jessika Petersen and Staci Baker got the initiative off the ground.

The plan is to start planting at the end of June at the corner of North Jefferson and East Liberty streets, across from the courthouse parking deck and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The group must first get approval from Medina County commissioners, which owns the property.

The startup has the backing of Medina At-Large Councilman Bill Lamb and Ward 3 Councilman Eric Heffinger, who both attended an organizing meeting Thursday at Cool Beans Caf←.

Main Street Medina Executive Director Matt Wiederhold said he will help the project any way he can.

The plan is to build 10 raised-bed gardens and put a 6-foot fence around a 50-by-50-foot area to thwart deer. The vegetation planned includes fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, green beans, peppers and cucumbers.

When the project is completed in 2020, the hope is to have more than 20 beds, fruit-bearing trees and bushes, beehives and a walkway.

The group is in the process of signing up for 501 (c)(3) status.

Baker, the group’s spokeswoman, said the SustainEd’s focus will be advocacy (such as getting behind the Girl Scouts’ plastic bag program), community (it will sponsor a Champion Creek cleanup on July 20) and education (it plans workshops to promote sustainable urban farming.)

Creating the garden is just the first initiative of the group, she said.

Baker said the plan is to allow people to sponsor the beds and put their names on the sides of them. If the group installs 10 beds, the hope is that the veggies from five of them can be donated to some place like Feeding Medina County. People that sponsor the other five beds can decide what to plant in them.

A decorative fence will surround the beds and be spruced up with flowers. SustainEd wants the garden to be visually appealing and accessible to the community.

“We want people to see it,” Baker said.

It also wants to create a beautiful oasis for birds, bees and insects, along with promoting health and well-being by encouraging consumption of organic, garden-grown products.

The group hopes to have a meeting soon at the Medina Library to appoint some subcommittees and assign tasks for the project.

SustainEd is raising funds for the garden. Those interested in donating can send a check to Baker, 321 N. Elmwood Ave., Medina, OH 44256. A Facebook page and website — sustainedohio.org — are still under construction. Baker said she’ll open a bank account in the next day or two.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan

at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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