Ideal Green Market Cooperative's educational garden producing fresh foods
In 2018, the seed was planted to plan a community garden behind the Ideal Green Market Cooperative in Ideal Township. That seed has germinated in 2020 and now the educational garden has started to produce vegetables, flowers and herbs, making a barren area flourishing with the bounty from summer sun, seeds and volunteer grit.
Local gardeners with a passion for passing on their knowledge of gardening have created a garden using designs by Ryan Hunt, of Garden Circles of Pine River. Funds for this project were provided by the Pelican Lakes Conservation Club, the Ideal Community Service Organization, Lakes Area Rotary and Crow Wing Energized. Garden Circles of Pine River provided a substantial discount for materials used in Garden Circles.
Initially the garden was going to be used for children, youth and adults to teach seed germination and the necessary components needed for growing vegetables at home. The idea was scuttled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, useful pictures and recipes will be developed using the carrots planted as part of the Crow Wing Energized campaign “One Vegetable One Community” to encourage healthy eating.
The 24- by 24-foot garden is fenced so that rabbits and deer are kept out of the enclosed space. The raised beds minimize weed production and the contained garden circles are planted with complimentary vegetation. In addition to the carrots, tomatoes, peas, onions, celery, peppers, green beans, squash, lettuces, radishes, herbs and flowers were planted.
“It was a community effort with neighbors and co-op members coming together to make this garden happen," Barb Mann, garden organizer, said in a news release.
The fruits of the first harvest of vegetables will be sold at the Ideal Green Market Cooperative. A limited supply of radishes, herbs and lettuces will be available for sale from the garden. The vegetables will also be made available to the local food shelves as harvesting the garden progresses.
The Ideal Green Market has other locally grown vegetables for sale in the store and every Saturday at the farmers market hosted in the parking lot at 34988 County Road 39 (just off County Road 16 about halfway between Highway 371 and Crosslake).
For more information about the garden or the farmers market, visit www.idealgreenmarket.com. The Ideal Green Market follows the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 best practices for making the store and farmers market safe for visitors and patrons.