Source: Sherman Publications

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Shooting Stars
Volunteers trade tech gear for gardening gloves

by Andrea Beaudoin

September 18, 2013

Volunteers from General Motors in Warren work at the Clarkston Community Garden. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin
It was a beautiful day for 25 employees from the General Motors (GM) Warren plant who visited the Clarkston Community Garden to get their hands dirty and help the community.

The 1.75-acre fenced garden is run by Independence Township Parks and Recreation, and is on seven acres of township property, donated by the McCord family.

Many volunteers and groups help run the garden. Volunteers from GM's technical center came by, Sept. 12, to dig out and install asparagus beds, pick and harvest vegetables, and spread compost. The group also helped create and install posts to grow grape vines.

Krystal Bergman, coordinator and volunteer for the Clarkston Community Garden, said the GM group worked on five projects during their one-day work session at the garden.

Bergman said four of the projects serve as the beginning of perennial crops of fruits and vegetables, and another project is for use and maintenance of recycled organic matter at the garden. Volunteers also helped pick crops in the garden.

"The projects included a grape arbor, an orchard of various fruit trees, a raised bed for growing asparagus, a raspberry patch, and redistribution of compost from active piles," said Bergman.

Asparagus beds planted this year will begin blooming next spring.

In previous years, the GM group volunteered to help Lighthouse in Clarkston and Gleaners Food Bank, but this year they wanted to help on the front lines of food gathering.

Sheri Kress, a GM employee who works at the Warren plant and lives in Clarkston, also serves as the group volunteer coordinator for her division. "We do four volunteer events a year and we usually go to Gleaners or to help a food bank, but this year we thought it would be fun to come out to the garden," she said.

The group worked from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. performing tasks and completing the projects.

Volunteer Greg Seeloff, said everyone in his group is offered a chance to volunteer and get out of the office for the day.

"I have always liked to volunteer by doing projects and good things for the community," he said.

Although most of the GM volunteers do not live in Clarkston, Gary Auten said it doesn't matter where the volunteers live, "The thing is we are all part of the same community."

Dan Glovak said working in the garden reminds him of what it's like to live off the earth.

All the food grown in the garden is donated to Lighthouse North in Clarkston and Gleaners Food bank in Pontiac.

With over 2,400 hours of volunteer work in the seven month growing season in the garden, over 11,000 pounds of food was donated to those in need in 2012.

Volunteers are welcome to just show up at the garden if they want to help from 9 a.m. until noon when the garden is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Supply donations are also welcome anytime needed donations include fencing, gate system, signage, organize material, greenhouse, trees and plant starts.

In addition, the garden staff sells the gardens goodies at several community events and the Clarkston Farmers Market Saturdays 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. from June 22 through October 12. The Farmers Market is located at 6595 Waldon Road in Clarkston.

For more information about the garden find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clarkstongarden.