This year the Seward Garden by the Bay enjoyed its fifth year of providing space for folks to
nurture heads of lettuce and their green thumb fantasies. Developed initially with start-up funds from the Seward Prevention Coalition, organizer Callie Bacon and other garden visionaries gained traction by partnering with the University of Alaska to use the land west of the Rae Building. The project required additional funding for garden box materials, topsoil, and equipment to bring their idea to fruition. The Seward Community Foundation saw the potential for the community garden and the hard work of the volunteers and awarded the organization a grant of $8,151 to build 30 raised bed boxes.
After five seasons, the Garden by the Bay has been a successful program that has impacted many. The plots provide interested community members with garden space, and some plots are set aside to grow vegetables for the He Will Provide Food Pantry. According to Callie, over 100 pounds of produce has been distributed yearly through the Food Bank program. Another benefit of the Garden is that it allows people to learn how to garden organically without pesticides or unnatural fertilizers. Every year organizers test the soil to determine what natural amendments are needed to beef up the nutrients.
Since its inception, the Seward Garden by the Bay has been self-sustaining from the annual fees set at $35-$50 for a garden plot. New gardeners are welcome each year. According to Callie, a fair number of plots open each year as people learn about organic gardening and become more comfortable setting up garden space in their yards. If you are interested, a lottery is held in the spring to fill the vacant boxes. Interested? Questions? You can contact Sarah Walters, President of Seward Garden by the Bay, at email@example.com.
This award was granted during the 2017 Major Grant Cycle by the Kaanta Community Fund for the Beautification of Seward, the Larson Family Fund, and the Seward Community Foundation Unrestricted Fund. Since then, this investment has been self-sustaining by garden members and volunteers. Garden by the Bay is a prime example of how investing in the community has a long-range impact far into the future. Happy gardening!