In 1993, Ohio State University Extension produced its first Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) interns. Following 50 hours of horticulture training, these interns were to complete 50 hours of community service in Clark County. One of the main areas of interest was to start a community garden. At this time, there were no community gardens in Springfield or Clark County.
In order to get a community garden program started, MGVs searched the community and found an empty lot on the corner of Clifton and John Streets in Springfield. Working with local partners, we prepared the soil and hit the neighborhood to see if anyone was interested. We had several who participated in the program for a few years. Eventually we lost the property to development but by this time, we were able to obtain grant funding for a part-time position to focus on community gardens.
Terry Smith was the first program coordinator for the Way to Grow program. This OSU Extension program provided support to community gardens in the county. OSUE offered educational programs, assistance in building raised beds and obtaining supplies and plants, and help pair MGVs to serve as mentors to these gardens. This program continued until 2018 when funding completely dried up for an OSUE position. During this time, we had up to 34 active community gardens in Clark County recieving assistance from OSUE.
In 2019 MGVs provided money to Terry Fredrich, one of the founders of the Jefferson Street Oasis garden in order to assist community gardens in Clark County. They provided a stipend for mileage and funds for supplies. This brings us to today.