The formation of the White Mountain Community Garden (“WMCG”), believed to be the first official community garden in Navajo County, started in June of 2010. The garden location was made possible initially by collaboration between Navajo County and the City of Show Low, providing limited water availability and the lease of county acreage centrally located in the heart of Show Low, Arizona. (west of 9th Place between the Navajo County South Complex facing the Deuce of Clubs [Route 260] and the Navajo County Health Department Building - we have now been given the street address of 520 North 9th place, but there is no mail delivery to that address). Since the garden started in 2010, becoming known and attracting volunteers and supporters has been a slow process. Initially, there were just a few regular volunteers trying valiantly to battle the weeds and many other challenges to work toward a viable community garden.
In 2011, the organizational infrastructure was established and the White Mountain Community Garden incorporated July 19, 2011; elections were held, and the Board expanded to include three members-at-large; and Bylaws and a Conflicts of Interest Policy were adopted December 20, 2011. On April 5, 2012, the White Mountain Community Garden received its exemption as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with public charity status. During the growing season, individuals and groups grew in raised beds or garden plots, including a 4H group, a home-school group, and a church group, and volunteers worked diligently to expand the garden area. For "Make a Difference Day" on October 27, 2012, we were delighted to have 18 people show up to help. Because of the help that day, we were able to winterize the garden, keeping a portion of the garden growing produce for a while longer, with new beds created and planted with spinach, kale, lettuces, and other frost-tolerant vegetables.
The 2013 season included the new HEALP (Healthy Eating and Living Participation) program with the expansion of the community garden area designed to provide additional opportunities for individuals with limited time to share the garden experience, sharing in the work and the fresh produce grown. The 2014 season brought us many new participants and volunteers, a new storage shed, and a new high tunnel that helped extend the growing season throughout the winter. During 2015, participation and support increased significantly, along with some new challenges. The team concept was introduced to create better management of the garden. Significant amounts of fresh produce were grown, shared, and donated. At the end of the 2016 summer season, we began a major improvement project for a better, expanded, more efficient garden.
Each year we look forward to improving the garden and its harvest, as well as the opportunities for helping to educate the citizens and guests of Navajo County, Arizona, on ways to grow fresh produce organically in our capricious climate and terrain.
Our vision continues to expand as we grow stronger as an important sustainable community resource helping to enhance local resiliency.
Our objectives include:
Helping promote healthy food consciousness and recognizing the need for self-reliance.
Helping provide continuing quality education, including hands-on education, regarding the benefits of producing and consuming locally-grown nutrient-dense produce grown organically.
Tapping local wisdom and learning from one another, especially about viable growing methods in our unique climate and terrain.
Sharing resources and working together toward transforming areas and strengthening our capacities to produce local food for our communities.
Helping to create additional opportunities for expanding the type and quality of produce grown locally, extending the growing season, providing learning experiences and other services, feeding the hungry all year long, and nurturing the health and well-being of our children and adults of all ages.
All activities are possible only through the work of WMCG volunteers and through monetary and in-kind donations, and are planned and implemented with the goal of furthering WMCG’s exempt purposes. Without volunteerism and support, the community garden would not be where it is today; and we will continue to seek additional support from individuals and businesses in the area who, by helping the White Mountain Community Garden in significant ways to meet its worthwhile goals and objectives, will help themselves and their community. All contributions are tax deductible, much needed, greatly appreciated and will be used wisely.
Michele Sgambelluri, President
Ann Cameron, Vice President
Vicki Matsumonji, Secretary
Doug Mason, Treasurer