We’ve been considering the idea of a community garden at the Clair Nelson Center for awhile now. It would fit nicely with the Finland Farmers Market, maybe provide some snack food for the Finland Community Youth Program, and create fun outdoor (and probably intergenerational) volunteer opportunities for the community. We could donate extra produce to the local food shelf. There are a lot of possibilities. We’ve been slowly working on ideas for how to fund this and how to get it done. Sometimes ideas have to incubate for a little while. We’ve come around to the idea that a community orchard would suit our site better. Trees and bushes require a different kind of care, and are lower maintenance in the long run.
This one is going to literally come to fruition soon. Through a Community Wellness grant we are receiving from the MN Department of Health, via the Community Health Board and Live Well Lake County, we will have the funds to create an orchard at the Center. We’re planning to plant various types of fruit trees and berry bushes all around the site.
Funding for these things can be somewhat tricky. The Community Wellness grant pays for the materials and equipment, but not the labor. We can get by with some volunteer labor (and we’ll be letting folks know when we need help), but someone still needs to coordinate the project, and that usually costs money. We have also received a small grant from private donors, and that will help, but we are still working on fundraising more to support this project. Stay tuned for more details!