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The MERIDIAN CO-OP GARDENERS of the KLEINER PARK COMMUNITY GARDEN

 

In Meridian, Idaho

The Kleiner Park Community Garden

Managed by the Meridian Co-Op Gardeners

 

By Juli Bokenkamp, President Garden Director

Excerpts drawn from their 2023 Annual Report

To be a successful gardener you have to fall in love with the process and not just the end product. This garden continues to grow in community…where the roots of unity grow deeper with each new season. The garden brings us closer together. It is a place where collaboration and cooperation walk hand in hand and where we celebrate and develop new friendships with people we’ve met on this path.

Activities at the Kleiner Park Community Garden and the pollinator projects at Kleiner and Heroes Parks. It shares just some of the exceptional work done and positive impact made by our 32 families.

Everyone should have access to healthy food. We grow real food for real people, for our families who work in the garden and for members in the community who are experiencing food insecurity.

 

A Bountiful Harvest

Everyone should have access to healthy food. We grow real food for real people, for our families who work in the garden and for members in the community who are experiencing food insecurity. Reflecting on the 2023 gardening season brings to mind words like remarkable, stellar, successful, and completely different from 2022. The longer we garden, the more we realize that each new season builds on previous ones and the importance of lessons learned from our challenges and successes. Every year we learn something new! We have wrapped up Year 12 with some rather amazing accomplishments and statistics, but it’s more than just the numbers. The main focus is on growing organic fruit and vegetables for our families, and sharing our harvests generously with local food banks. The garden cultivates friendships, a shared love for gardening, learning more about environmental stewardship, pollinators, native habitat, and community engagement. We continue to deepen our understanding of horticulture, sustainability, and food insecurity to empower our gardeners.

This garden is a sanctuary and a place where our gardeners can step out of the pressures of everyday life. It allows us to step away from things like screens and scrolling, and to focus on simpler things like putting our hands in the dirt, connecting face to face with other gardeners, and watching a seed germinate or a flower bloom. We are excited to see a quail family running through the garden and baby killdeer playing Marco Polo with their parents. We see beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and bright moons riding high up in the sky. It’s a perfect place to engage with nature.

The garden provides an excellent opportunity to meet, interact and work with fellow gardeners (both new and seasoned). On a larger scale it allows us to interact with the City of Meridian whom we partner with, our local community through events that we host and provide education to, and with local food banks. We have a great opportunity to connect people and food, and to raise awareness regarding food security. Life gets busy, yet our families make a commitment to this garden and continue to keep it a priority. We are a community and a family. It’s what makes the Kleiner Park Community Garden and our group, Meridian Co-Op Gardeners successful.

With much appreciation and gratitude, Juli Bokenkamp, President Garden Director

 

 

Feeding People

This year we donated 9,000+ pounds of food to local food banks, including the Meridian Food Bank and Community Ministries Center in Boise. Rising food prices and food insecurity continue to make it more difficult for people to access food. Our donations help put more fresh produce in the diets of families in need. We love the relationships developed with both of the food banks we serve. They are willing to work with us to make it easier for us to donate our harvests to them. We continued our partnership with Aaron Lindemann, a local farmer. This year we grew cabbages, sweet potatoes, melon and winter squash, many that found their way to the food banks. We are looking forward to continuing this connection in 2024.

Planting and maintaining this garden is no easy task. However, with the help of 32 families and other volunteers, the work is manageable. We spend 3-4 hours each week in the garden, working together on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The help received from other volunteers allows us to accomplish even more.

 

Learn more about the Meridian Co-op Growers on Facebook!