By Heather Regula, Correspondent
The phrase “buy local” refers to the purchasing of goods made locally, rather than products made far away. This practice supports local businesses and gives back to the local community. Now consider the phrase “grow local” – the growing of foods locally for your consumption. Growing local exactly what Belton Parks and Rec is encouraging with their free Community Garden, located behind Summer Fun at Heritage Park. The facility includes 39 garden beds and six water spigots within an access-controlled fence. There are plans for the installation of a shed, which will hold some community gardening tools.
“The Community Garden was a Leadership Belton/City of Belton project that opened in 2015. This garden was made possible by the hard work of many and the allocation of city funds and the generosity of many donors who gave time and money. Former Mayor Bill Holmes was an advocate for the garden, and he was instrumental in getting things going,” said Matt Bates, Director of Parks and Rec.
The Community Garden is a costless amenity available to residents of Belton, at least 18 years of age. Plot assignments and locations are given on a first come, first serve, basis and the gardeners are responsible for all watering, weeding, and harvesting. The city of Belton provides the water, and water conservation practices are encouraged. Gardening is possible year round and park hours (5 a.m. – 11 p.m.) apply to the Community Garden.
“This garden is something that can benefit many people – those who lack the yard space, the availability of water, and who live in apartments,” said Bates. “It is a community of its own – a place where novice gardeners can network with the more experienced gardeners.”
Brian Kinard has been involved with the Community Garden since it first opened in 2015. He and his family use several garden beds to grow okra, eggplant, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, peas and several types of peppers.
“My family enjoys gardening here. We live in an apartment and are grateful that we can use the land here to grow things. My grandmother had a farm in San Antonio, and she taught me how to garden,” said Kinard. “Growing our food here cuts down on the grocery bill and we get to grow what we want to eat. The biggest challenge in gardening here is the heat. We have to water liberally and start our gardening work early in the morning to avoid the high temperatures. I like the peace the garden provides.”
The Community Garden has available garden beds. Interested individuals can contact Parks and Rec at (254)933-5861 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.