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Garden searches for new location

The Sisters Community Garden is a 501 (c) 3 organization that provides Sisters area residents of all income levels a place to grow their own food and make excess produce available to local food banks We are contacting you because there is a possibility that the Sisters Community Garden may be able to set up a new location in Cliff Clemens Park.  

The garden is currently operating at the Sisters Eagle Airport, but its time there has come to an end. The organization’s board is now looking for a new location to continue its mission of providing Sisters area residents a space to garden while building community connections. The city of Sisters  Parks Master Plan includes providing space for a community garden. Moving to a new location in a city park will open food growing opportunities for Sisters residents and learning opportunities for all of our citizens. 

In the last year, we have contacted a wide variety of entities in the Sisters area, in search of an affordable and permanent garden location. At this time, the City has expressed the possibility of using a small area in Cliff Clemens Park. The city has asked us to be in touch with neighbors to gather opinions and ideas. The decision, however, rests solely with City Council. 

These frequently asked questions should help you understand how the garden would operate. In addition, a public meeting has been scheduled for June 29, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., at the Sisters Branch of the Deschutes County Library, to exchange ideas with you. In the meantime, please peruse these FAQs. Feel free to contact us at sisterscommunitygarden@gmail.com and visit the current garden at 15860 Barclay Dr in Sisters from dawn to dusk.

 

Benefits to having a community garden in residential areas include:

  • Enhanced social interaction

  • Physical health benefits

  • Environmental advantages

  • Beautification and pride

  • Crime reduction

  • Economic savings

  • Sustainable living

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Why consider this park? Is this a valid use that the city supports?

In updating the Parks Master Plan, the city recognized that residents support the creation of community gardens. At the same time, it was noted that some areas of Sisters parks are under-utilized or undeveloped.  A garden can provide several beneficial outcomes for residents as well as contribute positively to our city’s culture.

 

2. Is the city paying for the Community Garden to move?

No, the garden will use its current assets, gather cash and materials donations, seek grants, and utilize volunteer labor to build the infrastructure. Sisters Community Garden is self-supporting and will build and operate the garden area for the benefit of our Sisters community.

 

3. Can residents influence decisions about the garden, including provide input about its design rules of use?
Yes, neighbors will have the opportunity to provide input about many aspects of the garden. This may be done through public meetings, communications with Sisters Community Garden and written comment.  

 

4. When would the garden move to the park?

There is much work to be done before a move. The board first needs to gather input from neighbors and the City, then develop an agreement which meets city and public needs. We also need to raise funds for the move, which includes deconstructing and relocating our deer fence, garden beds, greenhouse and shed.
 

5. Will my access to the park change? Will my view change?

The garden would not cause any major changes in access to the park, nor will any structures be located where they would block any current homeowner’s view from their property.

6. Would neighbors be able to use the garden?

Neighbors are welcome to become gardeners by applying for a garden plot each growing season. City residents will have first consideration, either through priority for new plot assignments, by reduced plot fees, or both. We will construct as many beds as possible, but sometimes there is a waiting list. 

7. Will there be security measures at the park? Will my children be safe in or near the garden?

The Sisters Community Garden plans to erect a deer fence around the entire garden, and to utilize an electronic locking system at the front gate to maintain open hours between dawn and dusk. As in any public space, children should be monitored by an adult guardian. 

 

8. Will noisy equipment, pesticides, toxic chemicals or fresh manure be used in or near the garden? 

No, garden members use only hand tools to work their beds and the communal plots. Our organic gardening policy allows only natural measures to control pests and weeds. Only odorless, aged manure is used to amend soil. While there may be some noise associated with the initial garden development and move-in, no machinery noise is expected except for an occasional weed-wacker during daytime work parties.

9. What about debris blowing around, bad odors from compost areas, the spread of weeds?

Members of the garden are asked to bag up and remove any debris from their individual beds immediately. In addition, members contribute cleanup time to the garden on a day-to-day basis. We also schedule work sessions throughout the season, during which weeds are pulled and other debris is bagged and brought to the transfer station. Our compost area is managed by experienced volunteers who keep them tidy, odorless and environmentally safe.
 

10. What are the open hours of the garden, how many people will use it on a daily basis and where will they park?

Garden hours are set from dawn to dusk. The garden is used seasonally, from April to October.. It is rare for any gardener to come to the garden late in the evening, as no outdoor lighting is provided. Currently, gardeners often work in the mornings or during lunch. Others arrive after normal work hours and on weekends. It is unusual for there to be more than a few people working at the same time, except for scheduled work parties. On work party or class days, we can often see up to 25 people at the garden for several mid-day hours. Parking will be limited to the existing parking lot or nearby under-utilized street parking spaces.

 

11. Will the garden host events that might draw large crowds and how will we be notified of activities?

In the past, we have hosted up to two fundraising events per year, however we have not had any public events at the garden for several years. All events will be approved by the city and will comply with safety, noise and activity requirements. We plan to host educational workshops which may be open to the public, however enrollment and attendance will be limited.  

 

12. Who can we contact about this move, and who will be our contact once the garden is established?

Please contact SCG by email at sisterscommunitygarden@gmail.com. One of our board members will answer your questions or take up any concerns that require action.

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