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Dexter Community Garden Produces 700 Pounds of Produce in Third Year

More than 80 families participated in the Dexter Community Garden program during the 2012 growing season.

Despite unfavorable weather conditions for farmers across much of Southeast Michigan, the Village of Dexter's Community Garden celebrated the close of its third successful season in October.

According to garden coordinator Melissa Kesterson, all of the garden's 16 plots and four raised gardening beds were rented to local families.

"Who would've thought that through the devastation of a tornado, more people would become community gardeners? Amazingly, out of the wreckage of the March 2012 storm, that is exactly what happened this year in the community garden," she said.

A survey sent out to the gardeners shows 86 people gardened in a plot this growing season and food was shared with friends, co-workers, Faith in Action food bank, extended family, and neighbors. In total, about 717 pounds of produce was shared with about 114 people during the community garden’s 2012 harvest.

Among the produce raised by the gardeners was Roma tomatoes, kale, cayenne peppers, Swiss chard, butternut squash, beets, peas, snow peas, zucchini, sweet corn, watermelon, leaf lettuce, and cucumbers.

Kesterson said she is stepping down from her position as garden coordinator next year due to relocating for her husband's job.

"The program is running smoothly and growing every year," she said. "I feel really good about the future of the garden in Dexter. I've had a great experience working with Village Manager Donna Dettling and Brenda Tuscano. Dexter has a great program in place for its residents."

The Dexter Farmers Market also had a successful season.

Assistant Village Manager Courtney Nicholls said the market averaged 20 vendors on Saturdays and seven on Tuesdays. The average customer turnout was roughly 400 on Saturday and 75 on Tuesday.

Nicholls said this year's market vendors sold a cookbook to raise money for Faith in Action and donated $355 at the end of the season.

"All of the vendors were happy to contribute to the cookbook," she said.

The Farmers Market/Community Garden Oversight Committee will be meeting on Nov. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Dexter District Library. All are welcome to attend to share ideas to plan for 2013. Ideas can also be sent to Nicholls by calling 734-426-8303, Ext. 17.

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