The Williams County Community Gardening Association (WCCGA) serves the communities that make up Williams County in northwest Ohio by connecting people with fresh food through gardening.
A brief history
WCCGA was established in 2017 by Master Gardener volunteer and Bryan resident Jenni McKarns.
Jenni saw the need for neighborhood community gardening in our northwest Ohio communities, and began laying the groundwork by gathering fellow gardeners and planting a demonstration garden at the Bryan recreation park.
It wasn't long before the newly formed Williams County Land Bank took notice and offered the fledgling gardening organization a reclaimed property and a “greening grant” with which to develop a neighborhood community gardening space.
WCCGA became an official 501c3 in January of 2018, and in July of 2018, dedicated its first neighborhood community garden at 426 N. Williams St. in Bryan. It has since built community gardens in Kunkle and Edon, and is actively seeking out new interest in community gardens elsewhere in Williams County.
What is a community garden?
A community garden is any piece of land (publicly or privately held) that is cultivated by a group of people rather than a single family or individual. Community gardens are generally managed and controlled by a group of unpaid individuals or volunteers—usually the gardeners themselves.
There are many variations on the theme of community gardening: neighborhood gardens, residential gardens, institutional gardens, and demonstration gardens.
Our members & leaders
Pictured right is the Board of Directors for the Williams County Community Gardening Association, from left to right: Matt Baker, grower consultant; Jenni McKarns, president & OSU master gardener volunteer; Phil Klingler, treasurer; Gloria Gilcher, Kunkle Garden trustee; Suzanne & Gary Powell, Bryan Garden trustees; Cathy Cooley, Secretary & native plant specialist, and Laura Higgins, master gardener volunteer.
To provide opportunity and instruction for those interested in growing healthy food in a sustainable community environment.
Identify potential community gardeners and the neighborhoods in which they live.
Assist Williams County residents in their journey to improve their health and access to healthy, fresh food through gardening.
Reduce food insecurity throughout the county.
Provide educational support, including classes on growing fruits and vegetables, and on cooking and preserving produce.
Host special events for the community and garden members.
Partner with like-minded community organizations to sustain our mission and vision.
Benefits of community gardens
Reduce “food miles” that are required to transport nutritious food.
Increase access to fresh foods.
Increase fruit and vegetable intake.
Improve dietary habits and reduce risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases through education.
Increase physical activity through garden maintenance activities.
Urban agriculture can teach residents useful skills in planning, food production and business.
Improve economic opportunities by training volunteers and selling food at farmers markets.