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Cultivating Food and Friendships

A new gardening opportunity is growing in Sequim.

After two years, the Sequim High School Ecology Club's dream of starting a community garden coming true. In collaboration with Friends of the Fields, the Community Organic Garden of Sequim is accepting applications to lease 10-foot by10-foot and larger plots of land.

The garden, located at 525 N. Fifth Ave., is made up of an approximately 75-by-150-foot field south of the playground. St. Luke's Episcopal Church is leasing the land for $1 a year. Groundbreaking and construction are due to kick off any day, depending on the weather, and planting will begin in the spring.

"It started with the kids," said Linda Dolan, Community Organic Garden of Sequim founder and Sequim High School Ecology Club staff advisor.

"They wanted to save farmland, but when they found out how much it costs to save farmland they decided to develop a community garden," she explained. "There is a natural connection between kids and gardens. It's about more than gardening - it's about integrating the community."

Even though the students decided against saving farmland, Friends of the Fields still wanted to be involved, said Bob Caldwell, Friends treasurer. "If you can get people to start looking for fresh local foods, that can only help our gardeners and in effect, save farmland."

Friends of the Fields donated $500 to the Community Organic Garden to get started. More than half of the money will go toward insurance and liability expenses. Sequim First and Sound Community Bank also gave money.

"We've had some really big successes," Caldwell said, as both a Friends and garden representative. "This is a great project that the community obviously wants to get going."

What is a community organic garden?

A community garden is a place where residents can transform unused land into a space to grow vegetables, flowers, knowledge and friendships, Dolan said. People of all ages, abilities and backgrounds are invited to plant individual, family and group plots. Because the garden is organic, no chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or fertilizers will be allowed. The garden will rely solely on the soil, compost and other natural additives to promote plant health and growth.

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