With more and more people moving to urban areas, the concept of a community garden has become increasingly popular. Agriculture and urban life meet in a community garden.
From providing a use for otherwise unused land to creating a sense of community through shared effort, a community garden can help alleviate the effect of food deserts by providing fresh fruits and vegetables for families without access to produce, serve lower income neighborhoods, and provide an opportunity for community members of all ages and backgrounds to learn how to cultivate the land while promoting a sense of community pride.
While the process to establish a community garden in Altus has been in the planning stages for several years, a small group of citizens are hoping to make those plans a reality.
Loran Mayes and Sophie Stoeckl have been searching out grant opportunities and requirements necessary to get the project going for the last three years.
Tentatively, pending approval by the Altus City Council, the plans for the garden are for the west side park on Katy Drive.
“This is still in the pretty preliminary stages,” Parks and Recreation Director Chris Griffith said. “We want to move forward, but we don’t have all of the pieces put together.”
Those pieces include the covering of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, approval from the City Council, and funding for the project.
Mayes plans to present the project to the City Council this fall under the covering of Oklahoma Creative Communities, a project of Creative Oklahoma that works to bring new projects to Oklahoma communities.
After a meeting with City Manager Janice Cain, an Altus Community Garden Board was established to begin the process of putting those missing pieces together.
The idea of a community garden has passed through many hands over the last few years with multiple proposed locations, but members of the community are willing to help out with irrigation tubing, woodworking, planting, and time to make the idea a reality.
Though all is subject to change, Mayes and Stoeckl envision a community garden where residents of all ages can come together as a community with private and public beds, handicap accessible beds, and beds for military members and their families to grow fresh fruits and vegetables.
“If this project is approved, we want this to be a place where we can really come together as a community,” Mayes said.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.