This article by Brenda Harvieux originally appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of Northern Gardener.
Last year, the Newport on the Move Community Garden had to, well, move when the city wanted to re-purpose the land. The city helped find a new site at Fourth Avenue and 15th Street. “We chose that site because it can’t be used for anything else. We wanted to be able to invest in long-term infrastructure, though we’ll be amending the soil for a long time,” says Marge Meconis, “Chief Worker Bee,” who helped plan and implement the new garden design.
A core group of six community garden committee members have made the transition to the new space a success, along with help from the city and local businesses. Luckily, the lot already had water hooked up—originally, houses were on the site, but they were torn down when the Glen Road and Highway 61 interchange was built.
The space was fenced—six feet high to keep out deer plus rabbit fencing below ground—and the Newport Lutheran Church donated a shed. Half the lot has rentable plots and the other half is a Giving Garden where they grow vegetables for the Friends in Need Food Shelf. “Beans, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are the most requested vegetables at the food shelf,” says Marge.
Minnesota Green donated plants supplement what the Newport on the Move gardeners start from seed but also beautify the Newport community. “Because of the plant donations, we’ve planted plenty of vegetables and have been able to add pollinator plants, beautify city planters, and replaced trees on city grounds and at the Bailey School Forest,” says Marge. “Plus, we’ve planted at the Veteran’s Garden at Pioneer Park and done some landscaping at the food shelf too. Minnesota Green has been wonderful for the community.”