Help out in community garden
SNOHOMISH - The Snohomish Garden Club is looking for volunteers to help grow the vegetables that supply two food banks and the Snohomish Senior Center.
Anyone can show up to the Martha Perry Community Garden on a Tuesday or Thursday to pitch in, club president Crystal Meadows said. And if you do, you are likely to run into one of the garden’s most important members, though he would never say so himself.
Jerry Stansberry, 72, starts working in the community garden located on the Bailey Farm off Springhetti Road just outside Snohomish at 6 a.m. on most days. When the weather gets nicer, he starts even earlier.
He is the man behind the mud, the one who gets all the projects started in the garden. He starts the weeding, the watering and the tilling, which all come together to produce 20,000 pounds of produce each year for the Snohomish Food Bank, the Maltby Food Bank and the senior center.
Stansberry has been gardening his whole life. And if you can come lend him a hand, he’ll be sure to give you something to do.
There are several groups of loyal volunteers that help Stansberry do all the things needed to grow all the different crops on the six-tenths of an acre garden. Anyone can help out; you don’t have to know anything about growing crops to volunteer, he said. They can never have too many volunteers, he added.
“If they’re new to it, I’ll give them plenty of my time,” Stansberry said. “If they come once a week or several times a week it all works out. I don’t put pressure on anybody; it’s all a volunteer thing.”
The community garden is in its fifth year. They harvest just about every kind of crop that can be grown in the Pacific Northwest, Stansberry said. They grow several different types of lettuces, beans, peas, several varieties of squash, carrots, beets, turnips, you name it, they grow it, Stansberry said.
Stansberry tries to put people together who enjoy doing the same kind of work.
“Sometimes people will really like weeding, so they can be across the row from each other and talk and get to know each other,” he said.
Stansberry isn’t an e-mail man, Meadows said, so she tries to help lasso in volunteers by e-mail and phone. But the best way to help out in the garden, she said, is to show up on a Tuesday or Thursday and ask for Jerry. He’s there from 6 a.m. until about noon on those days. You can also try to catch him at home if you have any questions about volunteering. His number is 425-481-1080. If he doesn’t pick up, it’s probably because he’s tending to his own garden.
Meadows also helps secure the funding for the garden. And every year, she turns about $800 worth of seeds and donations into 20,000 pounds of food that gets donated to area food banks.
“It’s the inspiration of the loyalty of the people that work in the garden and just doing something, and giving so much to make it work,” Meadows said. “I like to go to that garden and be there because that atmosphere is just wonderful.”
Crystal Meadows can be reached at 206-910-4499 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though he is clearly the head of the garden, Stansberry shied away from giving himself any title.
“Everyone is so important to me and I don’t feel like I’m any different than anybody else,” Stansberry said. “I’m just there. I’m always there.”
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