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My Neighborhood establishes inaugural Community Garden

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(Teresa Lemon - Daily Press)
(Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

The My Neighborhood organization recently unveiled the first sprouts of a project that has been a long time in the making: the Community Garden.

Located in the vacant lot at 10th Street and Grand Avenue, the garden is the first of what My Neighborhood hopes will be several areas neighborhoods in Artesia can enjoy and help cultivate together.

“We didn’t want to do this in a part of town that’s already developed,” said Jeff Youtsey, My Neighborhood organizer and Artesia city councilor. “We decided to take an area of town where all neighbors can participate and have some pride in it – that’s why this location was chosen.”

The inaugural garden currently contains four plots but will be expanded as participation grows. Its establishment was one of the original visions of My Neighborhood, which continues to seek input from the community on projects they would like to see in their own areas of the city.

“When people in this town get an idea, City Hall intimidates them and their dream ends right there,” said Youtsey. “My vision is to make our local government more accessible to the people so they can see how the government can help them.”

The land for the Community Garden was donated by the city, which supports the local group’s efforts to bring Artesians together.

“The mayor and the city councilors have been very cooperative,” Youtsey said.

Organizers hope to see residents take an active interest in the flagship site and invite the public to volunteer their skills, talents and input to help enhance the garden space and take the project in the direction they wish it to go.

“Some of our ideas include raised garden beds for the elderly and the handicapped, a water feature, and a gazebo,” said Youtsey. “We’re being very careful with our planning. We want the neighborhood to get involved, because in the end, they’re going to own it – it’s going to be theirs.

“Our mission is to give people more say in the things that go on in their neighborhood.”

Those interested in volunteering with My Neighborhood or providing ideas for future projects are invited to call 575-973-5038.

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