Saturday morning was foggy and cold with a stiff upslope breeze as we stood shivering and gazing at the plot of fallow flat space across from Safeway that Freda Griffin has so generously provided for the first Harvest Center community garden in Woodland Park. We were imagining what it would be—paths winding through a beautiful site of raised beds, plants weighted with produce, lettuce leaves unfolding and flowers flourishing.. Today, we were beginning the transformation. After months of planning, volunteers were placing shovels to earth, hammers to nails. We pulled weeds and mullein, transplanted ground cover, cleared two 4’ x 8’ rectangles, and placed the first two raised beds–Ron Capen’s varmint-resistant bed and James MacNamara’s J pod — filled them with black dirt, and smoothed them over. By the time we finished, the sun had broken through and jackets were heaped in a pile nearby.
If you look toward your left as you drive past the Burger King and into Safeway, you’ll see the two beds perched there, and a few sprouts of green emerging. It’s called the Community Garden of Hope and Peace, and as Lee Willoughby said so well, “It will remind us in future years how a dream sprouted and grew beyond our wildest expectations.” It will also remind us of the goodwill and vision that made it happen and brought people together in the friendship that comes from the joy of a common goal.
Narrative by Kathy Brandt; photos by Lee Willoughby