News>Liberty Park's community garden comes to fruition
The Liberty Park at Andrews staff decided to put in a butterfly garden to attract insects that would help facilitate pollination of the other gardens which make up the Liberty Park Community Garden on Joint Base Andrews, Md. The housing team had a dedication ceremony for the housing development’s community garden here May 31. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Misty D. Slater)
Master Sgt. Robert Merriman, Presidential Logistics Squadron aircraft maintainer, inspects a cucumber he is growing in his garden plot June 21 on Joint Base Andrews, Md. The Merriman family's plot is part of the Liberty Park Community Garden, which provides base housing servicemembers and their families’ space to grow food, build relationships, and a community. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Misty D. Slater)
by Staff Sgt. Misty D. Slater
11th Wing Public Affairs
6/27/2011 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The housing team of Liberty Park at Andrews had a dedication ceremony for the housing development's community garden here May 31.
"The housing staff did a survey more than a year ago asking the residents what kind of things they would like to see, the community garden was one of them," said Greg Ramirez, Liberty Park at Andrews community outreach and marketing director.
"Residents wanted a place where they could gather to form a stronger sense of community, resiliency and sustainability."
This vision was realized with the opening of this community garden. The garden provides our servicemembers and their families' space to grow food, build relationships and a community, Mr. Ramirez said.
"I always wanted a garden; the thought of growing my own food is appealing to me. My grandfather and father were both avid gardeners, so I guess it's genetic," said Master Sgt. Robert Merriman, Presidential Logistics Squadron aircraft maintainer. "When I was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, I never had a yard large enough, and at Luke Air Force Base, the weather and lack of rain made gardening difficult. Someone at Liberty Park had the wonderful idea for the raised beds. When I heard about them I immediately signed up."
To make the residents' vision a reality, it took more than one part of the Liberty Park's team.
"We did not do this alone, with guidance and support from Clark Realty, this garden begins to grow. We would also like to thank the efforts of our landscaping team, led by Kevin Breads of Denison Landscaping. This garden would not have materialized without his vision, passion and dedication for this space to be one of hope, growth and friendship," Mr. Ramirez said.
According to Mr. Ramirez, there are currently 22 families who are utilizing the garden and each have their own plot to tend.
"We already have a garden in our back yard that we are doing for the second year in a row and we wanted to expand. They're kind of expensive to start up, so when we heard about the garden we thought it would be a great opportunity," said Jessica Percifull, wife of Army Staff Sgt. Niel Percifull, a Gulf Stream G5 flight engineer for United States Army Priority Air Transport Unit here.
"The mission of this garden is to improve their nutrition and provide a space to restore body, mind and spirit. We want this garden to be a place our residents are proud of, show ownership in and create memories to last a lifetime," said Mr. Ramirez. "We are part of a very small percentage of military housing communities that have such an amenity and through the growth that only begins to show, we will set an example for others to follow."
To find out more about Liberty Park at Andrews, visit the homepage http://www.andrewsfamilyhousing.com/photoalbum/homepage.aspx, or visit the Facebook page (again hotlink) http://www.facebook.com/libertyparkatandrews.