Haviland gardeners getting ready to share

Hannah Brown
Haviland gardeners share their extra produce each year with a community garden project. Anyone in the community may help themselves to the extra produce in a cart on Main Street as it becomes available. Planting for the 2020 season has already started, with volunteers practicing social distancing as they work.

The Haviland Community Garden was started 12 years ago as an outreach ministry of Haviland Friends Church. When the garden was getting started, there were planning meetings and officers to help coordinate the garden.

In the garden’s 12-year-life, it has been relocated in five different placed. It is currently located on the former Thresher Grounds in Haviland, and local gardeners are excited to get the 2020 growing season underway so they can share produce in perhaps, a more meaningful way than ever before due to the impact of the coronavirus disease.

Planting has started at the plot of ground on the southeast corner of Haviland, according to Ed Lofgren, a leader in the community gardening project.

Donations help cover the expenses for the garden from year to year, but local citizens are welcome to help themselves to vegetables displayed in a colorful cart on Main Street.

“Consumers have always been quite generous even though it is advertised as ‘free produce’,” Lofgren said.

The City of Haviland provides the water for the garden. When this idea first came to life, seeds were donated by the workers, with others in the community providing donations of seeds or equipment.

The community garden brings volunteers from all ages together to help plant, weed, and harvest the veggies. No gardening experience is necessary to volunteer. Lofgren said a typical year for the community garden would see all volunteers helping with the planting stage. Once that is completed, there are four teams formed with three to four people on them. Each of these teams is scheduled to work one week per month to maintain the garden and harvest the produce. Once the harvest is done by the team, members who worked that week can take some produce home, with the surplus going to the cart on Main Street. There are about 18 different kinds of veggies grown at the garden with a few being potatoes, squash, tomatoes, okra and onions.

“Everyone has been so appreciative of the produce and the volunteers enjoy the work,” Lofgren said.

This year, volunteers will make special effort to maintain social distancing as they work in the gardens, and many will wear masks, but they hope getting out in the sunshine and working to provide fresh produce for those in the community who might not be able to grow a garden themselves will be a blessing to many.