Community garden gives back to community and gardeners

255
Photo by Heather BellA happy scarecrow welcomes people, and ideally keeps pests away, at the Radford Community Garden these days as the seedlings emerge for this growing season.

Heather Bell

RADFORD – A happy scarecrow welcomes people, and ideally keeps pests away, at the Radford Community Garden these days as the seedlings emerge for this growing season.

Garden Coordinator Jim Graham, who has been at the helm of the garden since it began more than a decade ago, said earlier this week the garden is well underway and there are still three plots open for anyone interested in getting involved.

Graham also told the story behind the new scarecrow presiding over the garden.

“An early 1950’s graduate of Radford High School who lived in Newport News and passed away last spring had a large garden in that area and the scarecrow was in his garden,” said Graham. “His son, Matt Sutphin, one of the gardeners, brought the scarecrow to his plot to keep it living, so to speak. He has titled it “The Guardian of the Garden” and says it is something he can remember from his dad.”

Graham says they have 40 plots at the garden this year; 30 20-by-20-foot and 10 10-by-20-foot. Anyone interested in taking on one of the three open plots should call the city manager’s office to sign up. Graham said the garden offers not only a place for people to grow food for themselves and others, but also provides a place for fellowship.

“We try to have a stone pick-up each spring before the garden is tilled and there is a real cordial feeling with the gardeners,” he said. “Over the years I personally have gotten to be friends with many of the gardeners who have been there each year. I feel the garden has been a wonderful experience for many people in Radford who do not have the space or security to have a vegetable garden at their homes. It is a great wholesome exercise for many who are not able to work in an environment like the garden.”

Graham said over the years he and other gardeners have taken excess produce to the Daily Bread, a non-profit organization that provides a hot lunch to anyone who wants one, Monday through Friday throughout the year.