Contributed photo/Lopez Island's community garden.

Growing community in Fertile Ground

  • Tue Aug 24th, 2021 12:14pm
  • News

Submitted by Migael Scherer.

Once hidden behind thick brambles and a fortress-like fence, Fertile Ground is becoming more visible, enthusiastically connecting with Lopez Island. This community garden in the heart of the Village is steadily attracting visitors with its abundance of flowers, fruit trees, and produce.

Fertile Ground sits on the south side of the Farmers Market. Most of us walk right past it, discouraged by the high fence, distracted by Saturday’s vendors and crowds, or the shops and traffic on the street. Those who see the Welcome sign and open the garden’s gazebo-like gate enter a different world. The hum of bees is constant. The color, texture, variety, fragrance and size of the plantings are a delight. Each plot is different, like the gardeners who rent, plant and tend them.

Fertile Ground began in 1998 with Sally Bill’s transformative donation of almost four acres of land given for a variety of possibilities that have come to fruition: Lopez Children’s Center, Farmer’s Market and the open space known as Sally’s Garden that includes the community garden. Community members designed and constructed the original fences, gates and shed. Over the years the gardeners, in collaboration with Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, have taken responsibility for development and maintenance.

Today Fertile Ground provides more than space for a dozen Island families to garden. It’s a peaceful place for everyone to visit, to learn and to share. This past year the gardeners helped feed the community with grow-a-row contributions and displayed their gardens on the virtual Home Tour. They continue to explore new ways to encourage visitors.

But a garden cannot grow without water. For over 20 years, water for Fertile Ground has been collected in a shallow well that fills during the rainy season and is then pumped to a nearby 46,000 gallon galvanized steel storage tank. Long past its useful life, the liner in the tank is failing. It needs to be replaced this fall.

Fertile Ground gardeners are hopeful that, with community support, funds can be raised to replace the tank liner. With the help of an anonymous $2000 match and a Lopez Garden Club gift of $500, they have already raised $9,500 toward their goal of $16,000.

This quiet treasure in our Village—this refuge of bright flowers and ripening fruit in our busiest season—needs your help.

Together, we can ensure that Fertile Ground will continue to nourish Lopezians for decades to come. To make a tax-deductible donation for the water tank liner give online at www.fertilegroundonlopez.org or mail a check to LCCA-FG at P.O. 291 Lopez Island, WA 98261. Lopez Center for Community and the Arts (LCCA), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit serving our community. To learn more or to join the plot waitlist, please email Mo Pomietto at mopomietto@gmail.com.