Libby Area Community Garden is a grassroots project (founded by Linda Alkire), now in its fifth growing/thriving season with a membership of over seventy active members on about a quarter acre of school property in beautiful Libby, Montana. The garden is unique because it grows as fast as the community, members, and local businesses volunteer time and resources.
It is a work to eat garden. We remember our grandmothers saying to us, " No workie . . . no eatie".
We offer many opportunities for social interaction. As much as we enjoy the vegetables and fruits, we are growing community through our many partnerships with youth and church groups. Our local harvest festival has a garden plot within our footprint where fresh organic food is grown to provide an evening meal during their fundraising event in the fall. The revenue helps them be a more sustainable organization. The garden also grows another plot through the help of volunteers, including Boy Scouts, that will provide meals to help feed veterans and their families during our three-day regional stand down event. We have found that when people come together and build a garden through the sweat of their brow, those involved gain confidence and skills, and also enjoy sharing, learning and growing. These values promote a stronger community.
Next to the main garden is the Social Hub. The area features a barbecue grill, tables and chairs, a water cooler, and a very old merry-go-round. The area is utilized as a social hub and for events and workshops. Gardeners can visit with each other, share garden meals, and teach cooking and nutrition classes. It also has a section called "Wonderland" that the children love and help care for themselves. The space is enclosed with an old seven-foot tall Yurt lattice wall with hope vines growing up over the wall. It encircles a grove of tall fir and larch trees. Inside is a huge sandbox where children come to play, buildinging sand castles, playing with rakes and shovels. Before they leave they clean up . . . :)
Gardening is a dance we learn as you grow. Our Community Garden is a very special place!
-Story contributed by Linda Alkire