Grant helps community garden in Parachute |

Grant helps community garden in Parachute

From left, Susan Stoakes, Sharon Temple and Linda Elliott work in the Abundance Garden in Parachute. The community garden project is one of several to receive funding from LiveWell Garfield County and is organized by the Grand Valley United Methodist Church in Parachute.
Contributed Photo |

Health eating, active living grants

LiveWell Garfield County recently awarded mini grants to eight local organizations, causes, projects and programs that support healthy eating and active living and the goals of the program. A total of $20,000 was awarded after review of 17 applications.

• The Town of New Castle received $4,066 so the town, River Center and the New Castle Garden Club can start a community garden to grow food for River Center clients, low income families and residents unable to garden.

• Growing Food Forward received $4,000 to work with all three school districts in the county, Rifle Growing Community and LIFT-UP to expand gardening projects in Rifle and elsewhere.

• The Rifle Farmers’ Market “Lemonade Project” received $3,094. Community volunteers will make and sell freshly squeezed lemonade, with proceeds from sales directed to fund participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentive. The sales provide SNAP shoppers with matching funds in market tokens when they use a benefits card at the market, up to six dollars each week.

• Garfield School District Re-2 received $2,740 for its recipe overhaul program to increase participation in the school lunch program, working with Grand River Health Nutritional Services and gathering input from students on recipes and menu items.

• Fat City Farmers received $2,000 for its “Train the Trainers, Tend the Food” forest gardening and nutrition experiential learning project. Fat City Farmers will partner with the Silt Branch Library, YouthZone, Buddies program and the Re-2 district to educate children and families about planting a garden and fruit trees, harvesting crops and preparing healthy food. A patio garden at the Silt library will be installed. The summer reading activities at the library incorporate growing food and healthy eating.

• The Family Visitor Program received $1,100 for its “Eating Smart, Being Active” program to educate families with young children about a healthy lifestyle.

• Garfield CLEER Energy’s Bike and Walk to School Challenge received $1,000 to purchase prizes for local schools that participate in the 2015 challenge.

LiveWell Garfield County will distribute awards of $500 to $5,000 to qualified applicants in a second round of mini grants. Applications are due Aug. 5. For more information, see the full LiveWell Garfield County Community Strategic Plan at

PARACHUTE – A little divine help might make a new community garden overflow with healthy, fresh food for those in need in Parachute and Battlement Mesa this summer.

The first of many fresh vegetables have been planted across the street from the Grand Valley United Methodist Church of Parachute, 132 N. Parachute Ave., with the help of many church members, community volunteers and students from Grand Valley High School, according to “Abundance Garden” organizer Laurel Koning.

“We don’t really know how much we might produce, but we figure we’re on God’s land, so we’re in a good place,” she said.

Koning said the garden includes five, 15×50-foot plots, with three already planted.

“We’ve got tomatoes and peppers in the ground, and we’re looking at planting beans, beets, lettuces, zucchini,” Koning said.

It’s not the first time the lots had been put to this use, she added.

“There had been some garden plots there before, but the people had kind of given up on them,” Koning recalled. “Our church decided that we should see if we could get a community garden and give it all back to the community through the schools, to senior citizens with hunger issues and anyone else.”

The project received $2,000 from the LiveWell Garfield County program to help make the Abundance Garden a success.

Koning said much of the gardening supplies and labor has been donated, with as many as a dozen volunteers showing up on one weekend day.

“We’ve got people coming out nearly every day to do the weeding and watering,” she added.

Raw water from the Town of Parachute’s irrigation system is used and Koning praised town officials with helping make the project happen.

“We’ve had all these little angels come out of everywhere,” she said.

The goal is to keep the vegetables organic, Koning said, but insects, disease and other factors may mean the vegetables might not end up with that description.

“We’re going to try to be as organic as we can,” she added.

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