To the editor:
I am much heartened by a unanimous vote in favor of the Legion Field Community Garden at this week’s city council meeting.
As a volunteer for three years at the garden, I feel inclined to write a few words about this great Oberlin asset. The bottom line for me is that Legion Field provides an opportunity for anyone to grow their own vegetables and to learn from others who are doing the same. A portion of the garden is dedicated to providing produce for the food pantry at Oberlin Community Services, but individual gardeners may claim a three-by-eight-foot raised bed for a fee of $20 or the commitment to do four hours of volunteer work during the season. Zion Community Development Corporation, which established and oversees the garden, arranges for garden managers from Lorain County Community College. They organize planting in the community plots, share their knowledge with individuals, and give workshops. The garden also provides an opportunity for work crews from area schools and the Oberlin College sports teams to contribute their time, gaining experience and usually a good workout in the process. The garden is entirely organic. No pesticides or herbicides are allowed, nor are chemical fertilizers. Garden assets include a composting drum, a watering system, and a vegetable washing station with a solar-powered recycling system.
Questions are sometimes raised about the condition of the fence and tall grass. The fence is a necessity to keep out deer and groundhogs, but it is also a liability. The garden bears the full brunt of Oberlin’s strong winds, causing the mesh to bow like a sail and to rip. And the grass? It is an inevitable result of the high fertility of the land. Fence maintenance and weeding are the seasonal jobs the volunteers are always working on.
Those of us already enjoying our plots at Legion Field invite anyone who would like to garden to join us. The more people volunteering, the better it will be.