Bryant residents get opportunity to grow community garden

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published May 16, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 15, 2013 at 10:54 a.m.
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Nick Hillemann

Brandon Griffin, recreation superintendent for Bryant Parks and Recreation, is shown in front of what will soon be the city of Bryant’s community garden. These 50 plots will serve as the home to tomatoes, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables during the growing season.

— Residents of Bryant who want home-grown tomatoes and strawberries this summer are in luck.

They can rent a plot at Bishop Park for $25 to plant anything they wish, said Brandon Griffin, recreation superintendent for Bryant Parks and Recreation.

“This is the first year for a community garden in Bryant,” Griffin said. “These plots will feed our community and encourage a healthier lifestyle.”

Plots became available to rent on May 6 and will be open to the public to start gardening on Monday.

“This is our first venture and pilot [gardening] program,” he said.

Griffin said he had done research for the city of Bryant for the past year and partnered with other health organizations in the community to find out whether there was a need for a community garden.

“We knew we needed it in the city, and [the community garden] will help enforce a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Griffin said that after determining the need for a community garden in the area, he took the idea and ran with it.

“It will be a place where people can get together and garden,” Griffin said. “I’ve had nothing but positive feedback on it.”

The garden is on the park’s nature trail on the north side of the nature-trail loop.

Griffin said that because this is the first year for the community garden, a $25 fee will allow renters to have their plots until December 2014.

The price for renting will go up after that, and the 10- by 10-foot plots will then be rented on a yearly basis.

The 50 raised beds are on a one-third-acre plot that Griffin had reserved for the garden.

The area is surrounded by a 4-foot-tall fence to keep wildlife from intruding on crops that are planted in the gardens.

The soil in each plot was tested by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, Griffin said.

“The soil is very advantageous for crops to grow,” he said.

Griffin said he hopes produce from the garden will feed the local farmers market in the Midtown area of Bryant.

“All of the crops grown [in the community garden] can be sold at the farmers market,” Griffin said.

Two water sources will be available for watering the garden’s crops.

“We’re going to have rakes and trowels available to gardeners,” Griffin said.

He also said tags will be made to place near each plot to identify its gardener.

Some of the plots have already been reserved for the Boys and Girls Club of Bryant for the children to learn the importance of eating healthy foods and the responsibility of caring for plants in the garden.

Plots in Bryant’s community garden are still available and can be reserved by going to The Center at Bishop Park, by calling (501) 943-0999 or by visiting www.cityofbryant.com.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonilne.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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