Laying down roots: New community garden to open Tuesday
The Steamboat Springs Roots Community Garden will officially open with a celebration with volunteers, sponsors and organizers at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, at 1920 Pine Grove Road.
The new garden is a permanent replacement for the previous vegetable patch that was displaced as a result of construction on Routt County’s new Health and Human Services building.
The new garden, a culmination of months of work and fundraising, already has new vegetables and plants growing in 20 different plots.
“It’s great to know that we now have a place for people to garden who really lost that opportunity when the old community garden was displaced by the building of the new human services building,” said Todd Hagenbuch, Routt County CSU extension director and administrative leader for the garden.
“We got it done just in the nick of time that we were able to plant this year, so it’s really exciting,” he added.
Hagenbuch applauded the support and collaboration from so many community partners, such as the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, Rachel Long and the Moniker Foundation, Ace Hardware, KP Landscaping, Nature’s Design, the Ski Town Rotary Club and Hales Landscaping.
“It has been a wonderful, truly community-driven process,” Hagenbuch said.
He emphasized that the volunteers’ work was crucial to get the new garden up and running so quickly.
“I was fortunate to have had a garden in the previous community garden on Oak Street, and I missed it a lot,” said garden volunteer Kelly Bastone. “I came forward and told Todd that I would be willing to do a lot of work to create another one.”
“I can’t tell you how fulfilling and how satisfying it feels to actually be gardening in a plot in this new garden and see my neighbors planting seeds,” she added. “It’s incredible to think that it’s become a reality.”
The new garden is on the grounds of the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center.
“We’re excited the Roots Community Garden was able to find its new home on the campus of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center,” said Eli Nykamp, director of operations for the medical center. “Together, with other community partners, Routt County CSU Extension Office and a host of dedicated volunteers, the land has been transformed to house 20 raised garden plots.”
“For some, gardening gives access to fresh, healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs. For others, gardening can be therapeutic or a way to reduce stress and connect with nature — all of which connect back to a person’s health and well-being,” he added.
Bastone explained that particularly for people who may not have a backyard or outdoor space where they live, a community garden is an essential asset.
“For me, it’s incredibly important because I live in attached housing, and a lot of residents of Steamboat Springs live in attached housing,” she said. “If you want to have a garden, there’s a way to do that through the shared parkland.”
Hagenbuch also emphasized that making garden space for people with different housing situations, as well as giving them a chance to better understand where their food comes from, is crucial.
“It’s so important for people to reconnect with food and connect with the source of that food,” said Hagenbuch. “Giving people the opportunity to grow their own really is the best way for them to experience not only the importance of the nutrition of fresh food, but how much work it takes to grow it.”
Right now, the garden is starting to sprout green beans, carrots and onions, and volunteers are working on constructing a fence to prevent wildlife from eating the produce.
Bastone said she was thrilled that they were able to finish the garden early enough in the season to plant seeds, and she is looking forward to celebrating these efforts next week.
“We’re incredibly excited. So many entities have come together to support the creation of this garden,” Bastone said. “I think this ribbon cutting will really recognize all of those efforts and celebrate what only a community you could have created.”
To reach Katy Pickens, call 970-871-4208 or email her at kpickens@SteamboatPilot.com
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