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Plans for citys first urban garden in the works
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The urban garden has been popping up in cities nationwide, and soon, community members can test out their green thumbs as the farming trend may be coming to Turlock.


Urban gardening and farming are the growing and raising of food in densely populated urban areas and can be created through a variety of means, whether it be a restaurant growing their own herbs in an indoor garden or a neighborhood taking over an empty lot to grow fruits and vegetables. The latter is what Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission Chair Brent Bohlender has envisioned for Turlock.


As an off and on member of PARC for 28 years, Bohlender said that he has brought up the possibility an urban garden in the city before, but was never able to see the idea come to fruition. With Turlock’s current City Council, however, he had hope.


“I knew that with this group of City Council members, there was some interest,” said Bohlender. “They thought it was a great idea.”


At the Nov. 9 PARC meeting, an ad hoc committee was created to begin the process of bringing an urban garden to the city. First, the committee will look at a map consisting of the plots of land owned by the City available for use and see where the best landing spot for the garden would be.


“There are a lot of areas that nothing is being done to,” said Bohlender. “They’re just there, waiting to be used.”


Once the ad hoc committee has an idea of where the garden will go, they will then search for community members willing and wanting to grow, cultivate, and care for the fruits and vegetables grown. It could be families from houses that neighbor the plot of land, said Bohlender, or a group such as the Boy Scouts. As of now, Bohlender isn’t sure where the garden will end up.


“I want to see the map first and see what the City has available as far as open areas,” he said.


If there are no suitable areas available, the committee may have to look elsewhere, such as privately owned land. Bohlender suggested the undeveloped land near Emanuel Hospital, or even land owned by the Turlock Irrigation District as other possibilities.


“It just comes down to finding that open space, and the willingness of individuals in the area to help,” said Bohlender.


If everything goes smoothly with the garden’s planning, Bohlender expects it to be completed in the spring at the earliest. He hopes that the idea will catch on throughout the community, leading to multiple urban gardens throughout the city. In his vision of the garden, Bohlender sees families, friends and other groups growing their own produce alongside one another, sharing with each other or keeping the food they grow to produce healthy, wholesome meals.


“I just think it can be another thing within the community that sets us apart from others,” said Bohlender. “This makes our city more livable and improves the quality of life, and is another thing that shows we’re together as a community.”