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Summit Community Gardens opens gates to the public

Summit Community Gardens wants to invite the public to unfold its petals of discovery, sustainability and gardening experience during its grand opening Frost Free event that will be held on Sunday, June 12.

The gardens, located at 4056 Shadow Mountain Dr., across from Matt Knoop Park, will host the free celebration from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., according to Executive Director Ken Kullack.

"We feel like the garden is now in a good place, and this will be the first time the community is invited to come in and see what we do," Kullack told The Park Record during a recent garden tour. "This is a free event where you can do a self-guided tour of our 1.5 acre community garden and we’ll present activities for the whole family."

Some of those activities include providing flowerpots for kids to paint and take home, planting a kids garden and a discussion on bees and pollinators, and an opportunity drawing.

"Prizes will include Deer Valley bike passes, a gourmet local food gift basket, Copper Moose Farm Stand gift cards, Basin Recreation fitness passes and local restaurant gift cards," Kullack said. "We will probably give away a plot for the season, as well."

While the event is free, Summit Community Gardens will accept donations as well.

"If people would like to kindly make a donation, we would appreciate it because we are a nonprofit," Kullack said.

The event will also spotlight other organizations — including PC ALL Park City Lifelong Learning and Summit Land Conservancy — that are all partners with the Summit Community Gardens.

"There is an importance of partnering with other organizations and nonprofits because it’s a way for us to reach deeper into the community," Kullack said. "We also partner with EATS Park City and have donated some of the food raised in the gardens to their in-school taste tests."

Summit Community Gardens originally started five years ago to provide spaces where people can grow their own fresh food, but has since adjusted its mission to include educating and giving the public opportunities to experience gardening, Kullack explained.

"Nearly two years ago, we established a new board of directors and they had a lot of new skill sets and knowledge that related to gardening and farming," he said. "We wanted to make this more of a destination for the community."

Board members include Jodie Rogers, Deer Valley Resort’s food and beverage director, Daisy Fair, founder of Copper Moose Farms, and landscaper Ariel Vernell, who came up with a design, which is unique to this garden.

"Our garden is circular, which is different than most gardens that are rectangular," Kullack said. " We have paths that intersperse so people can walk around and see what’s being grown."

People can visit and get a better view of the community plots and various demonstration gardens that include a fire-wise garden that features plants and gravel that minimize or deter wildfires.

"We also have a perennial-herb garden that include sage and other plants that emit fragrant aromas near the front gate, so when people come in, they are greeted with the scents of something special," Kullack said.

The gardens measure a total of 1.5 acres.

"That’s the area that is currently fenced in, but we can expand, because this land is basically owned by Summit County and is a protected easement by the Summit Land Conservancy," Kullack said. "Basin Recreation leases the land and we operate on it."

Summit Community Gardens would not be able to operate as it does without Basin Recreation’s help.

"They provided the fence and maintain the paths," Kullack said. "They brought in all the gravel and tamped it down."

The gardens also feature are more than 75 plots, including a number set aside for community members.

"We have people who live here in condos who don’t have land to grow a garden," Kullack said. "So, we have space for them, and others who want to experience a garden.

"They can rent a 4 foot by 16 foot space as long as they follow our criteria that includes organic practices, maintain the plot, harvesting all of the plants and things like that. They can plant anything, food plants or flowers, as long as it’s legal."

Rent is $50 for the season, and that includes the irrigation. There are also options for raised gardens and other styles that will accommodate the elderly or the physically impaired.

"We wanted to make this inclusive for the entire community," Kullack said. "Many community gardens rent their plots for $150 or more. But as a nonprofit, we raise money from private donations, corporate sponsorships and fundraisers. That way we can give back to the community by offering plots that people don’t have to pay too much to experience growing a garden."

Summit Community Gardens will host its grand opening and Frost Free Event on Sunday, June 12, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.summitcommunitygardens.org.


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