C’enyaexde Ugheli is the Ahtha phrase for “something good grows.” It is also the name of the new Palmer community garden thanks to grants from the Mat-Su Health Foundation and PCF. C’enyaexde Ugheli – Something Good Grows was once a 3000 sq.ft. lawn located on South Alaska Street. Now it is a geometrically-arranged, raised-bed garden with grassy paths winding throughout. Benches will be placed in the center of the design to encourage gardeners to socialize, share, and learn from one another.
Alaska Family Services (AFS) and Grow Palmer (GP) collaborated to create this community asset. They decided to offer each bed for free to anyone interested in growing food during the 2020 growing season. Numerous gifts of seeds, seed potatoes, and seedlings have been donated and are being offered for free to gardeners this year. “The fact that we’ve constructed these beds, that they’re going to be free this year, that we’ve got all of these donations and starts I think is just a really incredible demonstration of how the community of Palmer can come out and support each other,” said Alaska Family Services President Desiré Shepler.
Over 35 residents, including nine Palmer High School girls basketball players and their coaches, moved a mountain of soil into raised garden beds that will grow food for residents throughout the summer. In the week following the construction, all but four of the garden beds were spoken for and planting had begun.
The garden is meant to foster a sense of community identity and stewardship amongst gardeners. It should provide a place for people of diverse backgrounds to interact and share traditions. We anticipate all of these beds being filled by different families for years to come.