Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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March 4, 2013

Community gardens return for third year

INDIANAPOLIS — Spring doesn't officially begin for a couple weeks yet, but Westsiders will need to get their green thumbs ready before then.

Chapel Rock Christian Church's non-profit group Go Love Indy will once again host the Westside Community Gardens on the site of the former Bridgeport Elementary School at 8650 W. Washington St. For $20, a resident gets a 20x30-foot plot in which to plant vegetables and whatever else. They can sign up at one of two meetings - 7 p.m. March 11 or 20 at Chapel Rock Christian Church, 2020 N. Girls School Road.

This is the third year for the community gardens. Go Love Indy, which performs various philanthropic projects, thought a community garden would be a nice addition to the area.

"Everyone's taken to the program really well," said Kelly Barber, who serves on the Westside Community Garden Council.

They started with about 24 plots and are now up to 40.

"It's almost doubled in size since it started," Barber said.

Every available plot gets booked as soon as they're available too. Barber says one will occasionally become available if someone can't tend it for whatever reason, but that's rare.

"Usually by the time it gets to planting, all the plots are spoken for," she said.

They get a variety of participants: single parents, families with young children, friends who go in on a plot together. Barber says there was an Indian family one year that planted some really exotic crops.

"That makes it fun, when you get to learn about new things," she said.

That's one aspect to the community garden - it's another way to socialize. And this group tends to become close over the course of the growing season.

"Anyone who's new is automatically taken in because it's a common interest," Barber said. "They're all there for the same reason. It's like a fellowship. People go from garden to garden to learn about new things and get tips."

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