Merced County Times Newspaper
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Garden beds reach century mark at Shepherd of Valley Church


Forty more raised beds were added to the community garden at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church last week, raising the number of beds to the century mark.

Twenty volunteers from the church, from Healthy House, and the community came together to construct, place and fill the beds. All wore face masks and practiced social distancing.

“This was a magnificent community effort,” said Master Gardener Marc Medefind, who also serves as liaison between the church and Healthy House. “I think this is by far the largest community garden in Merced County.”

Larry Beckstead, a neighbor of church member Monte Hamamoto, brought his mini skid steer Bobcat which allowed the beds to be quickly filled. The Merced County Public Health Department also chipped in, donating lumber, humus and dirt to the community effort.

The garden also features an 18-tree citrus and stone fruit orchard, which was planted in February. Two new Healthy House employees, Grace Vasquez and Thung Chang, are overseeing the garden led by supervisor Anna Tai Owens. Many of the gardeners are Hmong elders.

This is the third year the garden has been in operation. Currently, Healthy House Director Candice Adam-Medefind is coordinating a Food to FoRx focus, which requires gardeners to donate one-fourth of their vegetables to those who have no access to fresh produce.

For further information, call Healthy House at (209) 724-0102.

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