Kentucky residents can rent garden space

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) - People who want farm-fresh vegetables but no space to grow at them home have another option this year in one western Kentucky town.

Owensboro residents can rent garden space.

Two groups are offering space in community gardens this year to encourage people to raise more of their food and save on high grocery bills.

Kendra Carroll, a local master gardener, is spearheading the Owensboro Community Garden adjacent to the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden.

"Everyone deserves the opportunity to have fresh affordable food and the opportunity to reap the rewards of their own hard work and careful attention," said Kendra Carroll, a master gardener and organizer of the project. "Just because you don't have land doesn't mean you can't have a garden."

Cheryl Norton, executive director of La Plaza Community Center, is heading up the effort to create the Community Salad Bowl in a vacant lot. Norton said she expects to produce a variety of vegetables, including lettuce, potatoes, radishes, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, corn and melons.

"I hope there will also be some pumpkins to get the children interested," Norton said. "We have a summer program in which children will participate and they won't have to pay anything." Plots for growing will be rented to adults for $20 each.

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While La Plaza works with the immigrant community, the garden is open to anyone, Norton said. "Our goal is to integrate immigrants into the community," she said. "This is one way of doing that."

The community center plans to add benches, flowers and pathways to the garden. "We want people to be able to come here and relax," Norton said.

The Rev. Fid Levri, a retired priest who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1935, planted a garden in the vacant lot last summer on his own, she said. "He grew so much that we gave food away at La Plaza all summer."

Urban Community Gardens, a project of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, says an estimated 10,000 community gardens now exist in American cities. Many of them originated with the Victory Gardens planted during World War II to help people cope with food shortages.

Modern gardening in the United States dates back to the early 1700s, when Moravians created a community garden as part of the community of Bethabara, near modern Winston-Salem, N.C., according to the UCG. The garden is still active and open to visitors.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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