June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Volunteers plant crops with Feeding Medina County

MEDINA — More than three dozen volunteers showed up Saturday to plant a garden that will supply vegetables to help Medina County residents in need.

“We wanted to give back and say thank you,” said Kellie Tester, of Litchfield Township.

The members of the Tester family were among the dozens of volunteers at Saturday’s “community garden seeding.” From left, Caleb, 16, Angie, 8, April, 13, and their mother, Kellie Tester, of Litchfield Township, and her fiancé, Terry Muller. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAVID KNOX)

Tester said she and her three children benefited from Feeding Medina County’s Weekenders for Children program, which provides a bag of fresh food to children at 10 elementary schools.

Sandy Calvert, executive director of Feeding Medina County, the nonprofit group sponsoring the garden, said 1-in-4 children in the county do not have reliable access to food.

“That’s why we offer programs that help put food on the table for children, as well as families and seniors as risk of hunger,” she said.

The group’s latest program is a community garden on about two acres at 901 Lafayette Road, next to Feeding Medina County’s office. Calvert said much of the land was donated by Medina’s Chick Master. Bryan Hollopeter, a fourth-generation Medina family businessman and general manager of Medina Tractor Sales with spearheadedthe new
garden — the fourth sponsored by Feeding Medina County.

“Access to fresh produce is essential to the health of our entire community,” Hollopeter said. “I knew we could help.”

The new garden will provide fresh produce — tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, carrots squash, cucumbers and a variety of greens, said Ron Maitland, of Medina, the coordinator for the garden.

The garden also will provide mentoring and training for at-risk teens. The Medina County Juvenile Court’s community service program plans to have teenagers help cultivate and harvest the garden.

In addition, the William on the Lake banquet facility plans to offer cooking classes to the teenagers using vegetables from the garden.

Other partners in the program are HGExpo.com Online Home & Garden Show, Medina County OSU Extension, SBE Marketing, Medina Plating, Rick Malone Designscapes and Next Step.

Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.