Residents grow veggies and a sense of sharing

COLUMBIANA — Over a plot of soil along Springfield Road people are learning not only how to grow vegetables, but how to grow their lives by sharing with one another.

The Hope Garden at the Columbiana Way Station is where at least 11 people from the community are learning how to grow vegetables with volunteer teachers.

A Grow and Tell event is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 26 for the learners and teachers to showcase their efforts so far, and food samples will be provided, Way Station executive director Vicki Ritterspach said.

The garden was started in May, after the organization received a donation from Grace Church, Town and Country Gardens, and funding from the Columbiana Community Foundation.

Prior to getting the community garden up and running, the organization also sought approval from the city’s planning commission, which allowed for a conditional zoning at the property for that purpose.

The purpose of the garden is to strengthen relationships in the community through connecting those who want to learn gardening skills with those willing to teach those skills.

In just two short months, the garden already has 11 people learning how to garden from local volunteers, according to the organization’s latest newsletter.

One of those gardeners is 7-year-old named Caden James, who alongside his mother Sara is growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, carrots and onions, and even sunflowers in their own 4-by-4 space of the garden.

According to the newsletter, Caden is looking forward to making salads with what he has grown, and also sharing the crops with his grandmother.

Sara is a single mom who enjoys the fact that she is only obligated to visit the garden once a week, although Caden is eager to visit more often, they said in the newsletter.

Not only is the garden a place where people can grow vegetables, but it is also being used as a meeting place for life coaching and how to best serve those struggling with addiction.

The space is also available for lunches and relationship-building conversations, the organization said in the newsletter.

Ritterspach is hoping for a good turnout at the Grow and Tell event.

“It’s a good way to learn what it’s all about,” she said.