FFA group plants seeds for community garden project

Marion FFA representatives (from left) Kaitlyn Goebel,  Aidan Cairns and Cade Harms, along with (not pictured) Mark Meyer, adviser, talked with the Marion City Council Dec. 8 about developing a community garden.
Marion FFA representatives (from left) Kaitlyn Goebel, Aidan Cairns and Cade Harms, along with (not pictured) Mark Meyer, adviser, talked with the Marion City Council Dec. 8 about developing a community garden.
Three FFA students approached the Marion City Council at the Dec. 8 meeting to ask for support in developing a community garden.

After listening to the group?s plan, the council voted unanimously to help with what was presented and, if necessary, come back with recommendations for additional financial support.

Kaitlyn Goebel, head of the community development committee; Aidan Cairns, secretary; and Cade Harms, FFA chapter president, each spoke about the project.

?(Marion USD 408) bought the saddle club outside of town and asked if FFA had any ideas for it,? Goebel said. ?We came up with the community garden as a way to support the food bank, students and others.?

That area has a lot of land and needs work, but Goebel said the committee approved it and their chapter agreed to donate $1,000.

Reclaiming water

Cairns discussed the possibility of reclaiming city water.

?Instead of the water going into the ditch, we could put it into a tank and with an irrigation system reclaim that (water),? she said.

Harms said the FFA chapter is seeking the city?s support.

?We had two grants pending at this moment,? he said. ?We could need some financial support, primarily with plumbing costs and helping to connect to the tank.?

In case the water can?t be transferred from the water tower, which is 200 yards away, he suggested the city could either donate or sell the water to the school district at a reduced price.

The other concern will be help in moving dirt, Harms added.

?It?s like a bowl shape,??he said. ?So whenever we would irrigate, or if it rains, water would pool in that center.?

The city could help with drainage to the east where the old arena was, he said. The area is located behind the Marion football field on the south end of the big water tower.

Cairns said the group also plans to talk with Phoebe Janzen, who was instrumental in getting the community garden started in Florence.

Councilor Jerry Kline wanted to know who was going to pull the weeds.

?FFA members and community members will do that,? Goebel said.

Councilor Chad Adkins said he thought it was a great idea, and encouraged them to talk with Janzen.

?She will tell you how the garden is going now and the dedication and work it took to get it started,? he said. ?She did a lot of the work by herself in the beginning.?

Margo Yates, the new Parks and Recreation director, said Pam Byer, who is on the P&R board, asked about this earlier in the day.

Yates said they are willing to help get the word out with social media for possible volunteers.

?Do you have any estimates on how much funding you will need?? she asked.

Harms said they have applied for a Food for All grant and Nutrients for Life grant.

Yates also asked if they plan to have raised beds, which are more expensive, if they have a tank available and if they have heavy equipment to work the ground.

Harms said they do have some older equipment, but they are hoping through the grants they can use the money specifically for dirt work.

City Administrator Roger Holter said a site visit indicated it would take four to six hours with two loaders to initially work the ground and eliminate the bowl so it drains to the southeast.

Mayor Todd Heitschmidt told the students to come back and ask for financial support if they don?t get the grants.

Holter asked Harms if the group had a formal proposal, which he said they didn?t.

?It would help if you have a formal proposal for the food bank board and community people,? Holter said.