In My Garden: The Summit Community Garden
Britany Hoeffer did not grow up gardening. She got involved with the Summit Community Garden and has been leading it for about two years. The garden was started in 2008 by Josh Blankenbeckler. He was involved in the student chapter of the University Area Enrichment Association (UAEA). Catherine Girves introduced him to April Calkovsky, another community member who wanted to start gardening, and suggested that they start their garden on the property of the Summit United Methodist Church, located at 82 E.16th Avenue.
They got a few more volunteers together, including Britany, and that first year, planted the first bed in the front yard of the church. They successfully grew three different kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, swiss chard, sunflowers and several spices. All of them were learning everything about how to garden, with help from Trish Dehnbostel who provided them with supplies through the Godman Guild.
Now the garden has taken over a large flower bed on the east side of the church, as well as more space in the front. A greenhouse was donated by Wayward Seed Farm and they also have a Rain Brothers rain barrel water system as well as a composting system.
Britany has studied to work as a Social Worker. She’s been a participant in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and also works with neighborhood kids who volunteer to help with the garden. “I love that we are creating something that people can connect over,” she said. “It is fun and fun for kids and a great way to spend time with each other.”
When I visited her on a hot Saturday afternoon for their usual workday, she had three helpers – pulling weeds, watering plants and enjoying working together. And they had an armload of zucchini and eggplant to take home to their families.
The group participates in the Wexner Center’s Market at 15th and High by having an outreach table. They are currently looking for more volunteers.
They grow many different vegetables and fruits in the gardens, and mostly from seed. Cabbage, all kinds of tomatoes, broccoli (one of the best crops this year), eggplant, swiss chard, strawberries, lettuces, radishes, zucchini, cucumbers and arctic kiwi. They are planning to add onions and basil.
Michael Webb leads a cooking class on Fridays at 3:30pm. The class often uses foods grown in the garden for demonstrations. The group has garden workdays every Saturday at 10:30am. If you’d like to get involved, contact Britany on the UAEA’s website.