Public garden takes shape in Peaceful Valley

It seems to be the year of the community garden. Earlier this year, volunteers began putting in a garden in Grant Park on the South Hill, and now another garden on Parks Department property is coming to life in Peaceful Valley.

Located on the River Walk – a strip of park land just south of the river, off Water Avenue, west of the Peaceful Valley Community Center – the Peaceful Valley Community Garden will feature 27 raised beds when it’s completed, and it already has a waiting list.

“We had to limit access to people who actually live in Peaceful Valley, or it would have gotten out of control,” said Taylor Weech, who runs the garden program Earth Turners for Community-Minded Enterprises.

More than half of the beds are already in, and there’s water, too. On a hot afternoon last week volunteers were hauling dirt in a wheelbarrow to fill up the beds.

“We had a promise of a front-end loader but it didn’t quite work out,” said Weech.

Earth Turners consists entirely of high school-age youth.

Weech said the group will be working with children at Peaceful Valley Community Center, showing them how to grow vegetables and how to make healthy meals from what they harvest.

“We want to expose the kids to the benefits of a community garden,” said Weech. “We want them to know where a tomato comes from and that they can actually grow things.”

Big signs on the planted beds explain the various crops and plants, their nutrition value and health benefits. Produce raised by Earth Turners will be sold at Spokane farmers markets and a portion will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.

A fence is coming soon, but visitors are welcome to self-guided tours.

“We are getting there,” said Weech. “We are also learning a lot as the garden goes in.”