Hello, from Pocahontas County West Virginia!

I hope everyone enjoyed mother natures prank on all of us, with the snowfall on April 1st. Fingers crossed that is the last snowfall of the season, but I know this mountain weather can turn at any moment and bring us a surprise. As we’re gearing up for another wonderful year of gardening with our participants at Linwood Alive, we would like to share the exciting news that we have a NEW community garden this year. Our new garden site is located in Durbin, WV. We will have enough room for 10 new gardeners to join in on the fun this season.

This week we interviewed a few of our garden participants to find out the importance of a community garden.

1) What benefits do you get from the community garden? 

“I love having fresh vegetables and fruit, that we grew organically, for our family to eat. Being a part of the community garden also has helped me to learn about different vegetables and how to grow and prepare them.” – Allison

“Community and healthy lifestyles. I enjoy spending time with other people in the community participating in a healthy activity. We learn from each other and build relationships. It’s also great to see a once vacant lot in town have life in it.” -Lucia

“Gardening is so rewarding physically and mentally calming and the benefits of fresh veggies” -Cindy

2) In what way does the garden help your community?
“The garden brings together a group of people with varying knowledge–and everyone can learn from each other.” – Allison
“The garden provides community relationships. I sometimes assume I know everyone in Marlinton, but I have met many new people through the garden. It also gives our VISTAs a great stepping stone into the community during their service year.” -Lucia
“We love that it helps the preschool when we donate our extra veggies” -Cindy
3) Is your family involved in the garden? If you have kids, what do they enjoy helping with in the garden?
“My family is absolutely involved in the garden–my kids are with me almost every time I’m in the garden. They love to help plant and take care of the plants, and they especially love to pick the produce. I believe it helps them to eat their fruits and vegetables better when they are invested in the growing and gathering of the vegetables.” – Allison
“Yes! And We love it. I have two children 7 and 10 and they enjoy picking peas and identifying bugs. They really want to run the tiller on day.” -Lucia
4) What is the biggest problem you face as a gardener? (besides weeds!) 
“Gardening definitely takes time! But, if you are willing to spend just a few minutes every few days, you can stay on top of it and it will not get out of hand. And also dealing with the bugs and critters that also like our vegetables as much as we do!” – Allison
“Time. I wish I could have more time to spend at the garden and not be rushed to get my garden work finished, then move on to the next thing.”- Lucia
“our biggest problem is too much rain and early frost.” -Cindy
5) What is your favorite meal to make from your garden?
“One of my favorite appetizers to make is caprese salad–fresh tomatoes and basil with mozzarella cheese and a balsamic reduction! A great vegetable side dish is sautéed brussel sprouts with bacon and blue cheese. I also love to come up with new recipes and ideas based off of what is currently ready.” -Allison
“Salads, spaghetti squash with spinach and tomatoes, and my absolute most favorite treat is to stop at the Stonehouse bakery beside the community garden, purchase  a loaf of salt rising bread and cut a big slice of garden tomato to eat with it!” -Lucia
“Our favorite dishes are our mix lettuces with our herbs like parsley cilantro mint basil etc, and our coleslaw.  The cabbages are so tender. We cannot wait to return this year and start preparing our bed for the summer harvest” -Cindy
6) How many years have you been in the community garden/ what location? 
“6 or 7, since the beginning at Linwood.”- Allison
“2nd year, Marlinton location” -Lucia
 “5th year at Linwood” -Cindy
We’re excited to be GROWING at Linwood Alive, and getting more community members involved in gardening!