Duluth Community Garden Program's Spring Fling prepares locals for summer gardens

The warm weather is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start planting flowers and gardening your favorite vegetables and fruits. This Saturday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., the Duluth Community Garden Program (DCGP) is hosting their third annual Spring Fling event at Peace Church Fellowship Hall. The agenda for the day will include a variety of workshops, giving both the adults and the children an opportunity to be involved. Jahn Hibbs, DCGP Program Coordinator, said the specific content and activities in each workshop is up to the individual instructors.

Time Workshop
10:30-11:00 a.m. New Gardener Orientation
11:00-11:30 a.m. Starting plants from seed with Mike Olund
11:30-12:00 p.m. Planning your garden with Jamie Zak
12:00-12:30 p.m. New Gardener Orientation
1:00-1:30 p.m. Preparing your garden for Spring planting with Francois Medion
1:30-2:00 p.m. Organic pest & weed management with Francois Medion
2:00-2:30 p.m. New Gardener Orientation

Hibbs said the DCGP is mainly run by volunteers. There are many opportunities for volunteers, such as being a site coordinator for one of the 16 garden sites or participating in one of the seven committees. Hibbs said they also have small projects come up such as packing seeds or hanging up posters for those who aren't able to commit a lot of time.

Pat Farrell and Jahn Hibbs

Katie Hanson, a DCGP volunteer, will be putting on the new gardener orientation. Hanson said she plans to give new gardeners insight on what to expect and show them the correct resources to have a successful garden.

As she has been busy student teaching the past three months, she's been a volunteer for the past few years.

"I love working with this group because the people are so great," Hanson said. "They care about their community and the world."

Kristin Suchis, a Marshall School Spanish teacher, will be instructing children on making newspaper pots and planting the “One Vegetable, One Community” vegetable: beets. Bob Norstrom, “master gardener and lover of life ," according to Suchis, will be helping out with that workshop as well.

“I’m excited to show them that it is simple and that you can re-use things that might be thrown away or recycled,” Suchis said.

Suchis has spent a lot of her time volunteering with the DCGP as well as the Hillside Public Orchard. When she was adding up her hours of volunteer time, she estimated around 60 hours each year between the education and outreach committee, the “One Vegetable, One Community” initiative, and the fruit tree committee.

“All this time is an incredible investment though,” Suchis said. “I have learned so much, been so inspired, and have had the chance to connect with community and the Earth.”

Jamie Zak is teaching the garden planning workshop. She said the main purpose of this workshop is to learn about the resources available on how to plan and maximize their garden space. During this workshop, participants will be able to begin sketching out their garden plans for this year.

"Giving my time to organizations whose mission I believe in makes me feel that I can make a difference in the world," Zak said. "I have recently gotten very involved in volunteering specifically because I emerged from the realization that nothing can change in this broken society unless I do something about it."

Mike Olund has been raising organic vegetables and flowers for 30 years. He plans to discuss the problems that may come up when planting seeds and possible prevention techniques during his workshop.

Olund recently moved to Duluth. "I've found that doing volunteer work is an excellent way to meet new people and connect with people that I've worked with in the past," Olund said.

During the Spring Fling there will also be music, refreshments, and the opportunity to sign up for a garden plot.

Follow LakeVoiceNews on Twitter for instant updates and photos of the event this Saturday.


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