Thanks to the work of committed volunteers, the Julia V. Morris Community Garden supplied 3,121 pounds of fresh vegetables and berries donated to the Sky Valley Food Bank.
“The garden this year has been amazing, and has given us the ability to provide fresh and nutritious produce to our clients,” said Neil Watkins, Executive Director of the Sky Valley Food Bank. “It has surpassed the amount of food produced since we started recording over 10 years ago.
The quarter-acre community garden is named in honor of Julia V Morris, the original founder of the Sky Valley Food Bank. The City of Monroe, Boys and Girls Club, East County Senior Center and Sky Valley Food Bank provide oversight for the garden which is run by volunteers. The WSU Snohomish County Master Gardeners Program has provided gardening expertise and leadership over the years, with varying success recruiting volunteers.
In 2010 the garden began to falter as volunteers wore down, and there was a threat of losing the garden. Martha Dankers, WSU Master Gardener, stepped in and gathered up the community partners to create a plan to save the garden.
Marilee Schneider, also a WSU Master Gardener, and Snohomish resident, stepped in to provide the management leadership and vegetable expertise to not only keep the garden going but bring it to a new high. “Marilee has been a tireless leader in getting the garden to where it is today; putting in countless hours while sharing her gardening wisdom with new and experienced gardeners alike,” said Dankers.
Volunteers from the Monroe Garden Club, Senior Center and other community members have been key to the garden’s success.
Marilee hopes to make the garden a training site for the WSU Snohomish County Extension’s new training program, the “Growing Groceries Volunteer Mentor” program, showing how anyone can grow their own fresh produce, no matter how large their yard or what their gardening knowledge.
For more information on the Julia V. Morris Community Garden, or how you can help, please call Martha Dankers at (425) 870-4597.