Ahwatukee Garden launches annual fundraiser

The Ahwatukee Community Garden has begun a month-long annual fundraising campaign.

The campaign runs through noon Dec. 15 and has been the only fundraiser members have had for the garden in the past five years.

During this campaign, all donations are tax deductible and the website SeedMoney.org does not charge the garden anything for being its sponsoring nonprofit.

“The Ahwatukee Community Garden has given its participants a place to grow as friends and as gardeners,” organizer said. “People come and go, and some come back after long absences. The most important thing that has grown here has been the community connections”.

It has been difficult to keep the garden growing the past two years with COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.

The small core group that kept things going during the pandemic has aged and found they need reinforcements if the garden is to continue to grow and offer educational services to the community.

“A new group has come forth to breathe new life and direction into the garden,” organizers said. “It is an exciting time to be involved in this project.

In the past 10 years the garden has grown from an empty and barren space in a local park, to an oasis that provides fruit and vegetables for the neighbors, as well as an escape from suburban Phoenix and the desert.

Here is all that has been accomplished in that decade:

A demonstration garden area with two communal raised beds, each 4’ by 30’ was the initial build in 2012.

Three keyhole gardens based on a design for drought areas.

A native plant/ pollinator garden designed for children.

An urban orchard for fruit trees that are adapted to the region.

An herb spiral.

A contemplative area for people that is designed for pollinators ie.: hummingbirds, monarch butterflies and other creatures.

Eight Boy Scouts have earned their Eagle status with projects they have done to improve the garden.

The Community Garden members are currently participating in a multi-year study of the effects of global warming on native bees that is being conducted by Bowling Green University at multiple gardens across the country.

In the past, they were able to provide: supplemental greens to the local food bank; gardening advice in a column in the free neighborhood paper and at a monthly table at the neighborhood Farmers’ Market; seasonal presentations at our local branch library.

They also provide weekly hands-on work sessions for gardeners of all ages, directed by University of Arizona Master Gardeners and seed exchanges at Ironwood Library.

In addition, they assist in the development of garden projects at the Pecos Senior Center, The Garden of Eatin’, a local preschool, and Colina Elementary School.

Five members have completed the University of Arizona Extension Master Gardener program and organizers have conducted garden tours and workshops for children, aged 2-14, and adults as well as provide opportunities for students to earn service hours

“In the past five years, since we have been fundraising with Seed Money, we have been able to erect a shed, redo all the irrigation, and build a screened enclosure for one of the large raised garden beds,” they said.

“With this year’s funds, a revitalization will be initiated. Old hoses and tools will be replaced. Garden beds will be renewed with fresh compost, and new beds will be built. Outreach to the community will be invigorated. Children will be back playing in the dirt.

To help, go to: donate.seedmoney.org/7794/ahwatukee-community-garden

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