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Pay It Forward: Idaho Falls Community Garden Association

Idaho Falls Community Garden
Shilo Loree
Idaho Falls Community Garden Westside is located at 2164 Foote Dr., Idaho Falls, ID 83402

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho (KXPI) - It is springtime. Time to start planting and getting those seeds in the ground. Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz found some gardeners at a unique community garden in Idaho Falls and wanted to Pay It Forward.

"I love gardening," said gardener, Donna McDougal.

"Nature gives back wonderful varieties," said garden coordinator, Ed Phillips.

"It's been wonderful," said board member, Sue Miller.

Things are starting to stir at the Idaho Falls Community Garden westside. The nonprofit has three locations. The others are the one on Rollandet Avenue and the eastside garden off Meppen Drive north of the College of Eastern Idaho.

This community garden association has been around almost 30 years.

Here's how it works.

"People rent plots and they can grow their own produce, flowers," said Miller. The renters also donate a certain number of hours a year toward maintaining the community property. If the gardener completes the minimum number of service hours, the gardener can get their same plot the following year at half the cost. Miller said they have about 80 plots to choose from.

Talking with all these gardeners, Kunz finds it is about more than just growing plants. It's growing friendships.

"This allows me to have a garden where I couldn't have one. Someday I'll have my own house and property, but even when I do get that dream, I think I still might have a plot here, because of the camaraderie and the friendship," said McDougal.

"We do it for the growth and the camaraderie," said Phillips.

Time to Pay It Forward.

"I've been a gardener all my life. I grew up in the Midwest, which has different weather and soils, but for me, it's the camaraderie of the group. It's...," said Miller, her voice trailing off as a man walk up to speak with her.

"Sue, how are you?" said the man.

"It's..," continued Miller, still confused at who is this man talking with her.

"I'm Kory (Carling) with Mountain America Credit Union. And we've heard what you are doing for our community," said the man.

"Kory?" replied Miller.

"And I'm here today to Pay It Forward. So I'm here today to give you $500 in cash that I know that you are going to continue to grow this community garden and continue to support our community and provide a resource for those who can use it," said Carling, pulling money from an envelope.

"Well Kory!" said Miller, taking the money.

"So on behalf of Mountain America Credit Union, here's $500 for all your effort," said Carling.

"Well. Thank you so much," said Miller.

"Thanks for all that you do," said Carling.

"You will be hearing back from our board for sure. One other member is here today and a couple enthusiastic gardeners. And I'm going down to Utah and buying a couple peach trees with this. OK, Ed?" said Miller, looking at the group that had gathered.

"That's perfect," said Carling.

"Well thank you very much," said Miller.

"You're welcome," said Carling.

"I think there was a plot here," said Miller, realizing what had just happened.

Some of the food that is grown by the gardeners goes to area food banks and pantries and those in need. If you are interested in renting a garden spot at one of the three locations, call the Idaho Falls Community Garden Association at 208-524-0383.

"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to Eyewitness News 3 anchor Todd Kunz at

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Todd Kunz

Todd is an anchor for Local News 8.


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