Mill Creek Y Community Garden Grows Produce to Combat Local Food Insecurity
MILL CREEK, WA. May 3, 2023 – After a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, the Mill Creek Family YMCA Community Garden is in full bloom again this year, growing produce for the Mill Creek Community Food Bank to distribute to its customers. The YMCA volunteer-run community garden has planted easy to grow, plentiful crops to offer food bank customers fresh, nutritious locally-grown produce.
“We are excited to revitalize the garden and see what happens this growing season,” said Dana Hendricks, Community Garden volunteer coordinator and Mill Creek Family YMCA Board Member. “Working together to give back to the community is part of our mission. When we work together for the good of the greater community, so many people benefit.”
The Community Garden started years ago as an idea to connect the Y community. The collective group named it Common Ground Community Garden. Every group member was responsible for their own garden and surrounding area and donated a portion of their harvest to the food bank. As the group’s relationships grew, the plan adjusted and they joined forces to grow more together and harvest beside each other. The Community Garden and its volunteer group would host educational events, kids’ programs and camps, and community dinners with crops harvested from the garden.
“We had huge harvests every year,” said Hendricks. “We had so much produce that we were able to donate the excess to local food banks.”
When the pandemic hit, the garden program was paused. Volunteer Mirjam Anderson worked tirelessly to maintain the beds, but there was no formal program. The Mill Creek Y relaunched the program this growing season with the sole purpose of growing for the community.
“The collaboration with the Mill Creek Y helps supplement the produce we purchase when we don’t receive enough donations from local grocery stores or Food Lifeline,” said Jennifer Boyington, Executive Director, Hope Creek Charitable Foundation. “This partnership is especially important because fresh produce is often expensive and difficult to access for lower-income families. It helps address food insecurity in the community by providing affordable and healthy food options.”
The community garden is growing kale, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peas, beans, and more, providing a wide range of nutritious options for food bank customers’ meals. Y volunteers will work together to tend to the garden, sharing responsibility for weeding, watering, and harvesting.
“The Mill Creek Y Community Garden partnership also emphasizes the importance of community organizations working together to achieve a common goal of addressing food insecurity and improving the overall health and well-being of the community.”
To learn more about volunteering in the Community Garden or donating gardening supplies, please contact Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org.