With a little community support, the Bangor Community Garden has the chance to win the $4,000 Deloach Community Garden Award from California’s Deloach Vineyards and “Organic Gardening” magazine. Recently announced, the 15 nominees include gardens from across North America.
Online voting has already begun. Through Aug. 6, people can vote once daily at deloachcommunitygardens.com.
The top five gardens will split a total prize of $20,000.
“We’re counting on folks to vote for the gardens,” said Bangor Community Garden coordinator Kate Garland of Clifton.
Charles Boothby, fundraising and community outreach coordinator for the garden, applied for the grant in the fall of 2011. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that he learned Bangor had been chosen as a nominee from an announcement in “Organic Gardening” magazine.
“He put together some great descriptions of the background of the garden itself, and we put together a slideshow,” Garland said. “[The magazine] requested a video in January and we thought, ‘Where are we going to get a video?’ So we put together pictures from last year and Charlie did audio and talked through the slides.”
The two-minute video can be viewed on the voting website.
“We have a great garden program ourselves at the winery,” said Patrick Egan, marketing director for Deloach Vineyards, on a phone call from California. “In 2004, we tore up the vineyards and garden and replanted them to be organic and biodynamic. It’s a part of who we are. We serve a lot of meals to our guests from our gardens, and it’s something we’d like to help folks continue to do elsewhere.”
The 20-acre vineyard is known for pioneering pinot noir in the Russian River Valley.
Last spring, after a year of planning, Bangor Community Garden was located at 402 Essex St., a former naval training center and before that, a city landfill where debris from the 1911 fire was deposited. During the entire process, the group was aided by the City of Bangor and Bangor Parks and Recreation.
“It’s basically a series of raised beds in a pretty blighted property that is much more beautiful now,” Garland said. “It was basically an open parking lot.”
Last year’s community garden consisted of 64 raised beds, including Maine Harvest for Hunger beds for members to grow produce to donate to food banks. Residents, companies and organizations paid $25 for each 4-by-8-foot plot.
On Monday evenings, the gardens’ volunteer groundskeeper Byron Hale led an informal youth gardening program, during which children could grow their own crops on free miniature plots.
This year, the group has constructed 80 additional beds that need to be put into place and filled.
“It’s amazing what you can grow in a 4 by 8 plot,” Garland said. “It’s neat to see how people garden. You can really learn a lot from each other in a community garden setting.”
Other garden nominees for the award are from Middleton, Wis.; Sebastopol, Cali.; Coventry, R.I.; Lynden, Wash.; Toronto, Ontario; Wilmington, Ohio; Tucker, Ga.; Chicago, Ill., El Prado, N.M.; Miles, Mich.; Great Falls, Mont.; Sioux City, La.; Manassas, Va.; and Arvada, Colo.
For an application to rent a plot in the Bangor Community Garden, call Garland at 942-7396 or fellow coordinator Dan Muth at 385-2525.