Taylor Goodwill Garden reservation deadline is April 15

The Goodwill Garden at Heritage Park begins its seventh year of operation this spring.

The goal of garden organizers is to provide fresh, organically grown food to those in need, provide a common place for gardeners to share ideas, enable people to garden in an environmentally and socially responsible way and to educate children and adults about sustainable agriculture practices.

Each year, through the participation of the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign, the garden creates more than 1,000 pounds of fresh and chemical-free produce for donation to organizations such as Gleaners Community Food Bank, the William Ford Senior Activity Center and Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church (formerly St. Cyril’s) food pantry.

Volunteers who supervise the garden hope to increase the annual output this year by utilizing a gardening technique called “biointensive planting.”  Bruce Forrest, volunteer master gardener, said the “process can double or triple the production of a vegetable crop in the same amount of space as used previously. The beauty of this technique is that it involves organically improving the quality of the soil, not adding large amounts of fertilizer.”

Half of the garden is the Service Garden, which is planted and maintained by community service workers assigned by judges of the 23rd District Court.

The second half of the garden is divided into 20-foot plots that are leased to local residents for raising their own vegetables and flowers. There is a limited number of plots available to lease at $15 to $20, depending on the size. The deadline for requests is April 15. Call Bruce Forrest at (313) 295-1889 for availability, to volunteer, or if you just have questions about the garden.

The Taylor Conservatory Foundation is addressing the growing need for food by expanding its Plant A Row for the Hungry campaign. Plant A Row is a national program rooted in the gardeners’ tradition of sharing bountiful harvests with others.

“Each year these gardens produce thousands of pounds of fresh produce, which we donate to local food banks, but the need far outstrips our production,” said Patty Donahue, executive director of the foundation. “It doesn’t take much to make a real contribution. Whether you plant an extra row, or a few extra tomato or pepper plants at your home garden, you can make a great contribution.”

To learn more about this people-helping-people program and how you can help, attend a free Plant A Row kick-off meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at the Heritage Park Petting Farm. Call Donahue at (888) 383-4108 to reserve a seat.