LIVONIA - The coronavirus pandemic kicked off a surge in gardening last spring with millions of Americans starting at-home vegetable gardens for the first time.

Looking to tap into that increased interest in horticultural activities, the Livonia Public Library recently partnered with local residents and businesses to create a garden of their own.

With the support of The Friends of the Livonia Pubic Library, Smith Lumber and Hardware Center and Al’s Landscape and Design, local Boy Scout troops 4074 and 5074 recently constructed the first Livonia Public Library Community Garden on the south side of library, closest to Main Street.

Once the Scouts had finished building the roughly 10-foot by 4-foot garden, Livonia residents Cindy Casaceli and Tracy Cope planted various vegetables and herbs such as tomatoes, peppers, basil and parsley. Once the crops are ready to harvest, they’ll be donated to members of the community through local food pantries.

Library Director Frank Sykes said the garden is just the latest step in making the Livonia Public Library a place where everyone can come to explore a new interest or learn more about a new topic.

“The library is a true community center that offers something for everyone,” said Sykes. “The community garden was developed with this mind and in tandem with the library’s strategic plan,” which Sykes said prioritizes creating programs that target healthy living topics and connecting with the community.

“By involving other community members in this effort, the library creates long-term relationships and is more effective in spreading the message that healthy habits can begin at home with simply some dirt and a few seeds,” Sykes continued. “Our hope is to inspire others to make their own food gardens, with the ultimate goal that it will help to foster life-long healthy habits of eating fresh produce and getting outdoors.”

Sykes said the village of Livonia mulched the garden bed, so weeds haven’t been an issue yet. Library staff are currently taking turns watering the plants with plans for having library program attendees help out once the plants have matured.

Should the garden prove successful, the library may expand the garden, said Sykes.

The garden was a natural next step in conjunction with the Livonia library’s seed library, which was first introduced back in March 2020. The seed library offers a wide assortment of vegetable and flower seeds to library patrons for free.

For previous coverage of the library’s seed library, click here.

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