Volunteers needed to prepare and manage community garden

A team of Marshalltown residents have borrowed a page from a famous World War II campaign to help those currently down on their luck.

Victory Gardens were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada to reduce pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war.

Fast forward nearly 70 years and a Marshalltown group is using the same concept but with a different name – Community Garden.

“We started the project as a way to give back to the community,” said David Arnold of Marshalltown. “My wife, Johanna, and I noticed there was a lot of unused lots around town that could be used to grow produce for those who are struggling financially due to job loss or other factors. One can get much produce from a packet of seeds and good ground.”

The Arnolds began spreading the word and soon they were joined by six others.

They met Thursday night at the public library to move their plan forward.

The team has land – a 60×100 foot grass-covered lot at the intersection of Third and Church streets owned by the House of Compassion – and a time and date to work – 9 a.m., May 18.

Now all they need are volunteers willing to help prepare the land into 4×20 foot garden spots.

They will be contacting local businesses and governments in the next few days soliciting donations, such as compost and lumber for the garden boxes.

“We need volunteers and organizations not only to work the ground, but to also adopt a spot and take care of it from planting to harvesting,” David said. “Our team of eight will commit to building and managing four 4×20 spots, but need others to do the rest.”

The team has pledged 75 percent of produce grown from all lots will go to the House of Compassion, where it will cleaned and given to residents struggling financially free-of-charge and for use in the soup kitchen.

The balance may be used by the individual or groups managing a 4×20 foot spot.

Andi Walker, on staff at the House of Compassion, is a team member.

“We are looking forward to working with others in the community to help us better serve those less fortunate,” Walker said. “If the project is successful this season, we hope to expand it throughout the community next year.

For more information contact Walker at 641-752-5999.