Community’s Garden in Sturgeon Bay Earns Cellcom Grant

Children help plant the first roots in the Community’s Garden in Sturgeon Bay this summer.

In recognition of its “firm commitment to environmental stewardship,” Cellcom has awarded a Green Gift of $2,000 to the Community’s Garden in Sturgeon Bay.

The community garden is an 8-acre park located on the Ministry Door County Hospital campus on 16th Street in Sturgeon Bay that planted roots this summer.

Former Sturgeon Bay Councilman Ben Meyer hatched the concept for the garden about five years ago, says Jennifer Spude, nutrition program coordinator for the UW-Extension office in Sturgeon Bay. Spude helped get the garden in the ground.

“There’s so much potential for what we’re doing out there,” she says. “After three years of planning, it’s inspiring to see the excitement grow in other people and see the passion in the community.”

Initial plans aimed to plant the garden near Sunrise Elementary School. When those fell through, Jennifer Fischer from Ministry Door County Hospital contacted Spude and said the hospital had some land that might work.

The garden includes 60 20-by-20-foot plots, 10 of which were planted by households this year. Spude said 28 plots have been reserved for next year already, including two plots for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, which will use the plots in conjunction with its horticulture program. This year the hospital planted 40 plots to grow greens for its food service department.

The Door County YMCA, UW-Extension, City of Sturgeon Bay, and Crossroads at Big Creek are all active participants in the project, and John Meredith of Lakeshores Landscape and Design has donated design services. The garden will host nutrition classes, gardening classes, and other community and health-building activities while giving city families a place to grow their own food.

So far $38,000 has been raised through grant-writing and private fundraising to get the first seeds in the ground. The Cellcom grant funds were generated by the company’s cell phone recycling program.