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Garden Plot Rental: Mary's Experience

Wyoming Food for Thought Project wants to show off how our work is benefitting individuals in the community. This post is an interview with Mary Uttmark, a local single mother of two that rented a garden bed from us through the 2017 growing season. She knew she didn't have a green thumb, but gave it a shot and had great success with growing food for her family! Here's what she has to say about the experience:

Why did you decide to rent a garden plot from Wyoming Food for Thought for the summer?

My friend Alyss told me about the opportunity to rent a garden plot at Food for Thought for only $10 for the season. I’ve never had much luck keeping plants alive and I’ve spent most of my adult life living in apartments without the available space for gardening. I thought about it and I really felt I had nothing to lose by giving it a try. I have two kids and I thought it would provide us with a fun summer activity to do together. I also really believe in what the Food for Thought organization stands for and the way it enriches our community. To be able to do something that helps support that, even in a small way, was very appealing to me.

How difficult was it to maintain the garden bed?

Because I’m very busy with two children, working full-time, and other community involvement it was difficult to find the time to make it to the garden as much as I wanted to. That said, Food for Thought actually made it very easy to maintain despite of my hectic schedule. They had an automated watering system so I didn’t have to stress too much when I couldn’t make it.

My cilantro plant died pretty early on because I didn’t place it correctly for proper shade, but that was merely a lesson learned. All of my other plants thrived.

How much food do you think you grew?

I don’t know exactly but I know it was a lot. Especially my tomatoes, basil, oregano, and kale. It was so much that I couldn’t possibly eat everything that I grew and ended up donating some of it right back to Food for Thought to sell at the farmer’s market, as well as giving it away to coworkers and friends.

A small portion of Mary's garden.

Some of Mary's harvest!

How did this experience benefit you?

The most tangible way that it benefited me was an increase in fresh produce in my diet. Additionally, it benefited me immensely in ways that I hadn’t imagined when I first signed up. It gave me confidence in my ability to keep plants alive. I’ve been the death sentence of every houseplant I’ve ever owned.

Taking my kids to the garden and getting to spend time with them away from screens and without having to spend any money was really cool. Another benefit was a sense of accomplishment I got from watching seeds I’d planted flourish the way they did. Then, witnessing the impact that had on other people’s lives when I was able to share what I’d grown. It was a very positive and affirming experience for me.

Who would you recommend garden plot rental to?

I would recommend it to anyone living in a space that doesn’t allow for gardening. I would also recommend it to those who work full time and don’t think that they have the time for gardening. I’d honestly recommend it to almost everyone.

Would you rent a garden plot again?

Without a doubt.

Interested in renting a garden plot or purchasing one for your home? Visit our Gardens Page.

You can donate here to make garden plot rental a possibility for more families. Support our fight against hunger in the Natrona County area!

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