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Grace Episcopal plants community garden

Campbell Bagley, right, and Gabby Clover help build the Grace Episcopal Church garden in Baldwinsville, will help keep fresh vegetables on stock for the Baldwinsville Food Pantry.

Campbell Bagley, right, and Gabby Clover help build the Grace Episcopal Church garden in Baldwinsville, will help keep fresh vegetables on stock for the Baldwinsville Food Pantry.

— May 26 was the big day for the Episcopal Church's Garden of Grace crew.

About a dozen volunteers gathered to share a potluck lunch, hear a final pep talk and receive helpful gardening tips from a volunteer master gardener. Now came the time to put the seeds in the ground.

Erin Bagley, chief architect of the project, had read about hunger in America and about how communities could match home gardens with local food pantries. Many of those hit by hunger are children and, as the mother of a 4-year-old, she was particularly struck by that fact. She felt a community garden project could help address hunger locally and continue Grace Episcopal Church's tradition of community service.

Her first step was to contact the Baldwinsville Food Pantry to see if they would welcome fresh vegetables during the summer. Their answer was overwhelmingly positive and they offered tips about which vegetables would be most useful to them.

An audiologist by profession, Erin presented the idea to her parish and received their support. She then solicited assistance from Onondaga County Cooperative Extension master gardeners and arranged with Eagle Scout candidate Wally Zawadzki of Troop #71 to build the nine raised beds, install fencing and put in the soil to ready for planting.

By the time May 26 rolled around, a considerable amount of work had been done behind the scenes. Cooperative Extension master gardeners had visited the site and advised placement of the beds. Soil donations had been gratefully received from Ballantyne Gardens in Liverpool and the Baldwinsville Farmer's Coop. Other soil came from OCRRA, and Oliver Paine Nursery donated a flat of colorful marigolds to be planted among the vegetables. Plants and seeds were donated by parishioners.

Volunteers, community members and parishioners will each adopt the garden for a week's duration when they will water, weed and harvest the crops as they ripen. Volunteers will also be recruited to deliver the veggies to the Baldwinsville Food Pantry and, in the event of an overabundance, to other local not-for-profit agencies. Community volunteers are urged to join in. Call the Church office, 635-3214, if you would like to lend a hand.

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