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Volunteers wanted to start community garden

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April 13, 2011 - Debbie Cole is seeking folks with green thumbs and plenty of volunteer spirit to help plan, plant and tend a community garden in Oxford.

"That seems to be what the big rage is these days," said Cole, an Oxford resident since 1993. "Everybody wants a community garden to help with their food budgets."

There are currently an estimated 18,000 community gardens throughout the United States and Canada, according to www.communitygarden.org.

Such a garden would provide local individuals and families a place to grow their own vegetables, get to know their fellow residents and work together to accomplish a goal.

"It creates a feeling of community – people coming together for a purpose," said Cole, who earned her Master Gardener certification in 2010 through the Michigan State University Extension. "Everybody would have their own plot."

In addition to growing vegetables for themselves, the community garden would allow participants to grow food for others such as local senior citizens and perhaps even pantries, like Oxford/Orion FISH.

"I take my extra produce over to the (Hope) senior apartments on Drahner and they're just so excited to get tomatoes. It just puts a smile on people's faces," she said.

But before the tilling and planting can commence, Cole needs volunteers to secure a site for the garden and begin the planning process.

"We need people to come together and help organize it as far as getting the resources together," she said. "This whole thing's starting from scratch."

Considering it's already spring, Cole would like to get things moving right away.

"There's so many things that need to be done. The sooner, the better," she said.

On a personal note, getting this community garden going would help Cole fulfill the project requirement for the horticultural degree she's pursuing at Oakland Community College.

"I love to garden," she said. "It's in my blood."

Cole's been gardening since she was a small child.

"I started with a little pack of marigolds that my dad gave me," she said. "He gave me a little plot next to the house to put them in. That was just so exciting for me."

Those interested in participating in Oxford's community garden effort are encouraged to call Cole at (248) 628-0695 or e-mail dhcole@hotmail.com.

"I hope to be overwhelmed," she said.

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