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Assistive Technology for Kansans Team takes up gardening

Monday, May 3, 2010
photo of woman and man putting stakes in the ground

Sheila Simmons, ATK coordinator and Matt Jalali
mark the garden boundaries for rototilling.

It’s really pretty easy to plan a garden in the fall. Harvest is in progress, produce is abundant, full color garden catalogs are arriving and the news is all about community gardening. So the Assistive Technology for Kansans team thought: we’ll write a grant that could help people with health conditions or disabilities who want to garden figure out how to garden more comfortably. We can identify tools and strategies to ensure their success. We’ll get several established community gardens to agree to consider how their gardens can be more welcoming and accessible and we’ll start a new community garden in Parsons. And, seemingly all of a sudden, we’re in Year One.

The Parsons Community Garden is located on two city lots at the corner of 15th and Clark in southeast Kansas. Busy with organizational duties and working with the City of Parsons personnel, K-State Extension agents, Master Gardeners, as well as interested area residents, Inclusive Community Garden project staff have obtained land, marked out plots to be rototilled, enriched the soil, arranged for container gardens to be installed, held meetings to inform the public and encourage membership and hope to be planting by the middle of May. Maybe....

photo of man shoveling compost on top of garden plot

Volunteers, led by Brian Morton, obtained,
delivered and spread soil enrichment from the
local stockyard./p>

The Parsons Community Garden is located on two city lots at the corner of 15th and Clark in southeast Kansas. Busy with organizational duties and working with the City of Parsons personnel, K-State Extension agents, Master Gardeners, as well as interested area residents, Inclusive Community Garden project staff have obtained land, marked out plots to be rototilled, enriched the soil, arranged for container gardens to be installed, held meetings to inform the public and encourage membership and hope to be planting by the middle of May. Maybe.

In between wind and rain storms, the water faucets will be installed, the soil rototilled one more time, and garden plots marked to avoid “range wars”, because as one gardener was heard to say “we’ve got to get these plants in the ground.”

Sara Sack, director of the Inclusive Community Garden project says, “This project has really captured people’s attention. Wherever I go people are asking for reports on the community gardens. Our newest partner will include over 250 military service personnel who are recovering from injuries and want to touch the soil and see something grow.”

illustration of accessible tractor scooter

Tractor Scooter

As one of the five community gardens participating in the statewide research component of the Inclusive Community Garden Project, the Parsons Community Garden is reaching out to all area residents including those who want to begin gardening or continue gardening who also have a health condition or disability. Those gardeners who agree to participate in the research study will fill out a short beginning-of-the-summer survey and a follow-up survey at the end of the growing season.

 



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