NORTH OGDEN -- In between the ubiqitous raindrops, people across the Top of Utah have begun to prep for gardening.
For those who do not have access to their own patch of dirt, community gardens offer residents an opportunity to get their fingers into the soil and grow their own nutritious fruits and vegetables.
This year, more gardening spaces are sprouting up throughout the area as well.
"Childhood obesity is one of the biggest problems facing our nation," Junior League of Ogden President Sue Wilkerson said.
Through the organization's work with the Children's Health Connection, members saw that many health problems in the community are diet-related.
"We hope to make an impact on community health through diet," Wilkerson said. To help with those dietary needs, the Junior League of Ogden created the Oasis Community Garden.
"I think there is a particular community value to this," Wilkerson said, adding that along with providing food, it gets people outside, off their computers and away from their video games.
On May 7, North Ogden will have a grand opening of its new community garden at 2750 N. 550 East.
"We own the property. There was a home that was torn down on the corner, and we just thought it was the best use of the property right now," North Ogden special events coordinator Lorrie Frazier said. "It will give these people who don't have space in their yard a chance to grow their garden, and it will enhance the community spirit."
The new garden will have 12 planter boxes, built by Weber State University students, with room to expand. Each box costs $25. Frazier said the response to the garden has been good so far, but the city is still taking calls to fill the remaining spaces.
Schools are offering another gardening option as well.
Gramercy Elementary in Ogden had a groundbreaking for the new Giving Garden. Students from each grade will plant and harvest fruits and vegetables they have cared for themselves.
"The objective and the goal is to help the students learn some agricultural skills and take some ownership of the school," school counselor Josh Simon said.
Simon said the garden will be a daily hands-on teaching tool for math, science and ecology, as well as nutrition and establishing healthy lifestyles through growing a salsa garden and other plants, such as pumpkins.
Studies show that gardens increase academic scores, provide a hands-on learning experience and even decrease behavioral problems, Simon said. Along with the scholastic benefits, the students will even be able to take some of the produce home to their families.
"We're just hoping to get bigger and better every year," Simon said.
Other schools with gardens are Bonneville Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary and Dee Elementary.
Since 2006, the Junior League of Ogden has worked on the Oasis Community Garden in the central city area.
"It is a true community garden," Wilkerson said. "We turn no one away."
This year, the garden will offer a community farmers market every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., beginning June 1. Along with access to fresh fruits and vegetables, the market will accept Horizon Card to make the produce more affordable to people in the area.
Oasis is not just about gardening, Wilkerson said.
"It's also providing an outdoor space for people to meet," Wilkerson said. It provides a blending of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds in the center of the city. Before the garden, Wilkerson said, the area was a paved-over playground plagued by trash and sickly-looking trees. Now rows of raised garden beds give people a place to grow their own plants.
As the group fields calls for the upcoming season, Wilkerson said, they are just waiting for the weather to cooperate.
"We're sort of waiting for spring to officially start. Last year was pretty late, and it looks like this year will be the same."