MIAMI — The Health Literacy Project-Miami Community Garden is up and running — and is producing vegetables.
“Everything is growing well,” Miami Public Library Director Marcia Johnson said during a Friday open house for the garden, located on a parcel of land adjacent to the Ottawa County Health Department, 1930 North Elm.
The Health Literacy Project is a cooperative partnership between the Miami Public Library, Integris Baptist Regional Health Center, the Northeast Tribal Health Systems, the health department, Ottawa County Department of Human Services and is funded through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries under the Library Services and Technology Act, a federal source of library funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
“We couldn’t be prouder to host the effort,” said Ottawa County Health Department Administrative Officer Darla Thompson. “Hopefully you will see it grow more and get some more of the community involved. The bigger we get, I think the more impact we will have.”
The garden has four beds, all of which are either bearing or are close to bearing vegetables or fruit.
The elevated beds are 4-feet by 10-feet.
“Squash, a few tomatoes and a few peppers have been harvested,” Johnson said, noting that there are also herbs that can be harvested now.
Hoops have been placed in the strawberry beds to provide a little shade. Those plants are suffering the most from the heat that has baked the area recently.
“Whoever is responsible to check it (the garden) for that week will pick anything that is ready,” Johnson said. “Most of it goes to the WIC clients and the health department. We’ve had the Boys & Girls Club out. They helped picked squash one day. They all got to take a squash home.”
According to Johnson, another two beds likely will be built before the end of the growing season since there is still some grant money left.
“We may not plant anything, but we will still put them in,” Johnson said.
She said expansion next year includes a children’s bed and a teaching garden.
“There is loads of potential,” said Ben Loring, who is a master gardener. “Plus the city is interested in developing some other community gardens where people can come in get an area for a garden and raise food.
“This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a movement.”
“It has been done so nice,” Thompson said. “The people that have been involved are truly looking out for the best of this community.”
Jim Ellis is managing editor of the Miami News-Record. He can be reached by phone at 918-542-5533, ext. 3052, or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mnrsportsguy.