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UW plans community garden

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By Chris Sardelli

A new initiative by the United Way of Lancaster County may soon ease food concerns for residents.

Carolyn Petroski, interim director of the local United Way, said her organization is spearheading a community garden initiative, hoping to grow food to help the needy in the area as early as this summer.

The plan is locate a plot of land, identify people in need and then allow them to plant and harvest food from the area.

Petroski said the Lancaster County Recreation Department will most likely provide space for a garden.

“I had the idea, and then I noticed that Kershaw had done something similar, which had worked well last year and the year before,” Petroski said. “It’s a proven program.”

As part of the initiative, the United Way is hoping to locate community members who would be willing to tend the garden.

The group will also ask residents who already have gardens to overgrow their produce and then donate the extra food to residents in need.

“I believe we have the kind of community that will reach out and help,” Petroski said. “I’m looking for it to be a big success.”

The first phase of the project is a strategy session planned for March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lancaster County Recreation Center.

Petroski said the meeting is open to all residents, churches, businesses and community agencies who would like to be involved in the development of the garden.

She asks that all interested churches send at least one representative to the meeting.

“We need leaders to help brainstorm,” Petroski said. “We’re looking for people that have the vision, who can partner with us and who have connections to people with resources to help carry this out.”

Having seen the many people lined up at HOPE in Lancaster looking for food donations, Petroski said this is the perfect time for a community garden.

“We have a lot of need in Lancaster for food,” she said. “We’re a rural community. Years ago, people farmed here and had gardens and I think this is something we can do to fill a need.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the initiative can call the United Way of Lancaster County at 283-8923.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416