Cortez community garden opens plots to public

Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 9:27 PM
Debra Sheldon and Ellen Foster pull weeds in the Cortez Recreation Center community garden in August.
Rachel Medina and Ellen Foster attack the chip pile on a workday at the Cortez Community Garden in September.
Kirbi Vaughn and Ellen Foster thin late lettuce in mid-October.

The Cortez Recreation Center’s community garden will be open to the public this planting season.

Kirbi Vaughn, an outreach coordinator for the volunteer group Common Ground Cortez Community Gardens, sent out a news release on Friday saying the group is ready to open 10 new plots for Montezuma County residents to use. Common Ground has managed the garden, located just south of the Recreation Center, since summer of 2017, harvesting most of its crops for the Good Samaritan food pantry. Families and individuals can enter a lottery-style drawing for the new plots until Feb. 16.

Some of the garden’s vegetables will continue to go to the Good Samaritan, but the new plot owners will be in charge of growing and harvesting their own food. According to the release, the garden has large plots for families, smaller ones for individuals and one “handicap accessible” plot. Each one comes with access to water, soil and tools throughout the growing season.

“Our group’s mission is to create spaces where community members can help each other grow healthy food,” Vaughn wrote in the release. “We’re excited that we have been able to work with the City to start this community garden in Cortez.”

Anyone can sign up for a garden plot free of charge, but once the plots become available in the spring, those who receive them will have to pay $15 per season for families, or $7 per season for individuals. Everyone who enters the drawing but doesn’t get a plot this year will go on a waiting list. Lottery winners will be announced on Feb. 19.

Would-be gardeners can sign up for the drawing at the Recreation Center, the Cortez Public Library or any of Common Ground’s 11 business partners, which include both Cliffrose Garden Center locations, the Cortez Cultural Center, Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery and several others. Plot reservations are also available at Common Ground’s website.

The volunteer group announced its plans to expand the community garden in November, with support from the Cortez Parks, Recreation and Forestry Advisory Board. According to the release, construction on the addition should be finished in time for planting.