A city’s green thumb: Clearfield comes together to make garden

Dec 1 2010 - 7:53pm

Images

ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
Russell Jones, the Clearfield Community Garden Coordinator, poses for a portrait at the garden in Clearfield.
ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
Russell Jones holds radishes and carrots collected at the garden in Clearfield.
ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
Russell Jones, the Clearfield Community Garden Coordinator, poses for a portrait at the garden in Clearfield.
ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner 
Russell Jones holds radishes and carrots collected at the garden in Clearfield.

CLEARFIELD -- Russell Jones has always had a green thumb, so he wanted to help with the city's first community garden.

The city joined with the Wasatch Community Learning Center to develop a garden in spring 2010.

The less-than a quarter-acre community garden is across from Clearfield High School and next to Fisher Park.

Volunteers helped make the garden function, from installing watering systems to keeping the plants alive. There were several groups that helped, plus 10 families who gardened each week.

But city officials say Jones did more than anyone else. Jones, who has roughly 30 years experience in various outdoor activities such as landscaping and running a nursery, came forward to act as the garden coordinator.

"I like doing that kind of thing," Jones said. "It's a good place to spend time."

Community Services Director Tracy Heun said he donated an estimated 500 hours since March. He is still busy, putting the garden to bed by pulling out the old plants.

"He has been a tremendous help with the garden," Heun said. "He put in lots of volunteer hours to make it happen."

The city council recently recognized Jones by giving him a certificate of thanks as well as $100 gift card.

"He was Clearfield's Mr. Garden," said City Manager Chris Hillman. "We want to recognize him for all of his volunteer efforts."

Heun said Clearfield started their gardening efforts late this year. It was the first time the city was doing a community garden. Efforts started in March.

"There is a trend in America for people going back to producing their own food," Heun said. "Community gardens are springing up everywhere because of that.

"We wanted to be able to do that as well."

This year, the city purchased the seed and had the families and volunteers plant them. Heun said it was just a typical garden with items like squash and tomatoes.

Next year, the plan is to allow individuals to plant what they want in 6-foot by 6-foot plots. That would give room for approximately 15 families to garden for a nominal fee.

However, Heun said, the final details aren't finalized, and the city is still working out details including the cost.

She did say that the city knows this year's efforts were a success. At the end of the season, the city was able to donate 247 pounds of produce to the Catholic Community Services.

"It was a great bonus," she said. "Families were able to garden and get what they needed, but we also had enough to donate as well. It was tremendous."

Both she and Jones are looking forward to next year's garden, which they hope will be even better.

Jones said, "It's going to be bigger and better next year."

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