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Garden for Life Year 1

An acre of land on Powwow Road has been turned into a beautiful garden that will provide fresh produce for the community and our food pantry. Would you like to be involved in this fun, family-friendly project? Email foodsovereignty@arleecdc.org or call 406-726-5550. Funding for the garden is provided by No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength, the Gianforte Family Foundation, and the O.P. & W.E. Edwards Foundation.

From Barren to Bountiful

Before photo of garden area

In early April, it was just a patch of land with old overgrown vegetation. Follow the progress as the area gets cleaned up and becomes a flourishing garden. This project includes classes in gardening skills and leadership skills taught by Farmer Fred Billings.  Sign up today – email foodsovereignty@arleecdc.org or call 546-5633.

Class Schedule

Schedule

Classes meet Fridays, 9 to 11 AM at  the Arlee Community Center on Powwow Road. The first hour will be a presentation by Fred Billings, followed by a hands-on lesson in a variety of gardening skills. See our class schedule for the full list of dates and topics.  

Clean-up Day

Thanks to everyone who came out on Earth Day to help prepare the garden site. We had a good turnout and lots of families brought their kids to get them involved in this community project. We got rid of the overgrowth and the knapweed and we're ready for the next step - delivering garden soil. 

Cleanup Gallery

Garden Soil is Here

The garden soil is here and we're getting closer to planting fruits and veggies. Next steps are putting up fencing to keep animals out and deciding what to plant. The garden will have 55 rows and we'd like a family or individual to plant and care for each row. Would you like to be a part of this project? Sign up today – email foodsovereignty@arleecdc.org or call 546-5633.

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Prepping the Site

We learned about the living soil and made compost heaps at the garden site. We are still in need of more compost materials: chicken manure; brown matter including leaves and straw; and green matter including grass clippings or hay with no weed spray or pesticides. 

Site prep

Plants are Going In

The first plants are going in! We planted 216 red cabbage, 216 green cabbage, and 72 cilantro plants. We learned more about compost and the environment needed for healthy plants. Next project is making stakes to mark our family rows.

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More Starter Plants

More starter plants

Thanks to the wonderfully supportive people at Harlequin Organic Produce for donating some starter plants. We really appreciate all you do to bring fresh produce to the Jocko Valley. The kids are loving learning how to plant and care for a garden. Now that school is out, this is a fun outdoor activity for the whole family. Sometimes letting your kids get their hands dirty can be a good thing! 

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Putting Up Fencing

The same things that make a garden attractive to people also make it attractive to the animals we share the landscape with. Thanks to the Tribal Lands Fencing Crew for donating their labor and use of their equipment to put up a wildlife fence to keep the critters out and the veggies in.   

Fencing

The Shed is Here

Our garden shed has been delivered so we have storage for all our tools and supplies. The garden is growing and it's good to see all those rows of greenery thriving.  Click through the slide gallery to see our beautiful garden coming to life. 

Shed

Early Veggies

Some of the early veggies are coming in, like these beautiful radishes. The garden is looking green and healthy, and the kids are having so much fun learning about planting and caring for a garden. 

radishes

Lettuce is Ready

Our mid-July harvest is fresh, crisp lettuce. Our volunteers all brought some home to their families and we brought 20 heads to the food pantry. The tomatoes have been staked and all our produce is coming along nicely. 

lettuce

Early August

Big harvest the first week of August! 16 lbs tomatillos, 2 lbs serrano peppers, 4 lbs Radishes, 16 lbs bok choi, 54 lbs summer squash or zucchini (yellow and green), 32 lbs lettuce. 124 lbs all together. We gave some to firefighters, a preschool and community members, and have approximately 70lbs here at the center that will be given to the senior citizens centers and more community members.

August week 1

Super-Fresh Salads

Salads don't get fresher than this - a delicious taco salad harvested and served right in our garden

taco salad

Benches and Tables

Our garden now has beautiful benches and picnic tables, thanks to funding provided by a Community Challenge Grant provided by AARP. Thanks for all the volunteers who helped us assemble them. The tables and benches will help make our garden a welcoming spot and encourage more community members to get involved. 

Benches and Tables
Garden

Garden

Watch Now

Big Harvest!

In its first year, the garden harvested 4,181 pounds of fresh vegetables, which were distributed through our pantry and given to local preschools, senior centers and partner organizations. Participants also learned gardening skills that they can use to develop and care for their own home gardens. Now that we have our garden infrastructure in place, including wildlife fencing, a drip irrigation system, gardening tools and a garden shed, we’re hoping to sustain and grow this project in the coming years.  

Harvest
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