October 29, 2020

The Garden Collective finds a home

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Price city community continues to grow. Through a collaborative effort of Utah Power Credit Union, Utah State University, Castleview Hospital, Rocky Mountain Power and Price city, a community garden named “The Garden Collective” was established in 2020 at 100 North, 300 East in Price.

Utah Power Credit Union bought the vacant lot adjacent to its Price branch and began brainstorming how best to use it. President and CEO Ryan Pollick decided to give back to the community by creating a community garden.

Dr. Gary Straquadine, professor of agriculture systems technology at USUE, has been involved in community gardens across the state. He created and has managed a community garden on the USUE campus since 2015. When contacted about collaborating in the new community garden project, Straquadine moved the existing campus garden to the new location. He now manages the gardens while Price City provides power, water and landscaping services. 

Thirteen raised garden beds radiate out from the center decorative gabion. Young shrubs and tree saplings have been planted and begin  to take root. The entire park is full of new beginnings and powerful potential.

In the spring, Straquadine and his crew of students and volunteers began planting tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, table grapes and fruit trees. In June, Ivory Homes donated 30 shade, coniferous and fruit trees as a part of their “Tree Utah” project. 

Produce from the garden goes to Carbon County Food Bank exclusively. In addition to canned and dry goods, the food bank now offers fresh, locally grown vegetables to those in need. 

Straquadine is passionate about sustainable agriculture, food waste, and food accessibility. “We have an abundance of fresh foods in America. Yet, people still go hungry. Our goal is to link food production with the greatest needs – all at the local level. Good nutrition requires educating people about better food choices. One way to teach about better food choices is to show and tell how local production works.”

Once harvested, the produce is pre-processed by a crew. The food is washed, sorted and put into bags where it is ready to be distributed to the food bank. 

The community garden project has been brought to fruition in part by volunteers. High school students, the Boys and Girls Club of America and students of USUE have worked tirelessly to create a beautiful and functional garden. Currently, volunteers are building compost bins. 

In mid-October, Straquadine and his crew will be planting what he calls high-density vegetables: kale, collard greens, bok choi and cabbage.

Terry Johnson, USUE SUN Center  director, organizes volunteers for working in the gardens. Those wishing to take part in volunteering can contact him at (435) 613-5284.

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