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Community gardens - successes and challenges - forum March 29

Over the past few years, there has been increased interest and activity in community gardens in our area. Some of these gardens have individual or rental plots, some produce food for local hunger prevention efforts, and some are a combination of different types of gardens.

In an effort to gather and share information about gardening projects in our area, UW-Extension is facilitating a "Community Garden Forum" on March 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the River Falls Public Library. Representatives of each of the existing community gardens in Pierce and St. Croix Counties are invited, as well as anyone from the area who is considering starting a garden or is interested in current community garden efforts.

The forum will begin with a short presentation on the history and description of community gardens, and the role they play in community building. We will then ask representatives of each garden to share their successes and challenges, as well as their goals, ideas and needs.

The goal of this forum is to provide an opportunity to network with others involved with community gardens, coordinate efforts, and to determine what can be done to help current and future gardens be even more successful. We are also looking to compile information on community garden efforts and their impact in western Wisconsin.

This will allow everyone to better publicize and advocate for their efforts, and to encourage more people and resources be dedicated to community gardens.

At the forum, we will also have representatives from area food pantries who will discuss their policies and needs for the acceptance of fresh produce donations.

If you are involved with an existing community garden, and your garden has not received an invitation, please contact Diana Alfuth, Horticulture Educator for Pierce and St. Croix Counties at (715) 273-6781. Anyone considering starting a new community garden is also encouraged to attend.

While there is no cost to attend the forum discussion, pre-registration is requested by calling the Pierce County UW-Extension office at 715-273-6781.