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Springfield Community Gardens volunteers work at the nonprofit’s garden near Cox North.
Photo provided by Springfield Community Gardens
Springfield Community Gardens volunteers work at the nonprofit’s garden near Cox North.

Groups ramp up community garden efforts

Posted online

Springfield Community Gardens and Springfield Botanical Gardens separately announced plans securing their futures.

Springfield Community Gardens
The nonprofit that develops community gardens and farms via partnerships with Springfield Public Schools, businesses and other nonprofits signed on to lease Cox North’s kitchen.

At the 1423 N. Jefferson Ave. hospital, SCG is investing a $12,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks allowing it to prepare produce and host classes, according to a news release. SCG Director Maile Auterson said by email the nonprofit leases 800-square-foot Cox North kitchen for $6,000 per year. It’s also paying $6,000 for a portion of the salary for the group’s kitchen manager. SCG already operates a garden adjacent to Cox North.

“Since CoxHealth’s Springfield food operations have largely moved to Cox South, we had space that was perfect for this partnership,” said Jason Bauer, CoxHealth system director for food and nutrition services, in the release. “CoxHealth has made improving the health of the community a priority, so the gardens’ efforts are ones we really support.”

SCG, which continues to operate its offices out of The Fairbanks, has partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest over the past four years to produce 550,000 pounds of produce for families in need. Volunteers have worked more than 17,000 hours for the nonprofit, according to its website. The group operates 21 gardens, according to the release.

Springfield Botanical Gardens
Friends of the Garden, the fundraising umbrella for Springfield Botanical Gardens, reported the group is halfway toward a $500,000 capital campaign goal.

Friends of the Garden officials are seeking to close the fundraising gap by March 31 for the gardens at Nathanael Greene Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., according to the release.

“We know that parks and public places are frequently cited as important amenities for Springfield’s quality of life,” Friends of the Garden President Kim Chaffin said in the release. “That’s why future development of the Botanical Gardens is a priority for businesses vested in Springfield’s success and for generous donors with an affinity for certain gardens or an interest in honoring loved ones.”

The fundraising campaign would pay for future capital expenses and maintenance, including landscaping and tools, expanded plantings, improved accessibility, and restoration and rehabilitation. Springfield Botanical Gardens comprises 40 gardens and features such as the Butterfly House, according to the release.

Community volunteer Morey Mechlin is leading the capital campaign as chairwoman.

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