Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Free Garden Help & Mentoring? Local Volunteer Organization Helps Residents Grow Where They're Planted
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Free Garden Help & Mentoring? Local Volunteer Organization Helps Residents Grow Where They're Planted

Planning and planting your first garden can be intimidating. Yet, as word catches on about how important local and regional food systems are, and as food prices continue to rise everywhere, it's no wonder that more and more households are jumping on board the gardening scene... or trying to. Insert the local growing volunteer organization Decorah Urban Gardens (DUG). Every year for the past three years, via their Upstart Garden Project, DUG has offered free help to inexperienced gardeners, contributing to successful home gardens across the community. The group's mission is to:

  • Advocate for organic, urban gardens
  • Encourage non-toxic, urban landscapes
  • Educate & assist local gardening pursuits
  • Increase local food production

Now in their fourth year, the all-volunteer DUG crew will help with site planning, plot preparation (sod removal and tilling), and a one-time leaf mulch delivery for participants. Most importantly, selected participants will be paired with experienced gardeners, who will offer advice and technical assistance throughout the gardening season. Additionally, 2014 is slated to be a groundbreaking year for the organization, which is expanding their efforts to develop a decentralized neighborhood garden system throughout town, at the ward level. This year, DUG will be working alongside the Decorah Parks and Rec Department to expand access to tilled ground for growing food within the city. The group is also currently moving to create a photo calendar for 2015-- a month by month snapshot of Decorah's urban landscape.

Households have already been considered for the 2014 Upstart Garden Project. In the future, all one needs to do to apply is contact Decorah local and DUG member, Jim Tripp  or send a message via Facebook. Candidates simply need live within Decorah city limits, and provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number(s)
  • Address
  • Whether property is rented or owned
  • A brief vision of what you hope to grow
  • Candidates are then contacted shortly after by phone.

Individuals interested in joining the organization and helping to increase DUG's growing power, may also contact the group. Don't forget to 'Like' Decorah Urban Gardens on Facebook, to stay in the know! 

*Image credit.

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