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Merger between Summit Community Gardens and EATS is complete – a new name could come this fall

Summit Community Gardens
The snow that fell all winter at Summit Community Gardens is melting! In the meantime, register for a gardening class to be ready to plant later this spring.

It’ll be a while before the snow melts and Summit Community Gardens plot owners can get in to turn the dirt for this summer’s gardens. But behind the scenes, it’s busy as the merger with another nonprofit organization EATS became official.

The merger between Summit Community Gardens and EATS – or Eat Awesome Things was made official April 1. For now, the single organization will continue to be known as Summit Community Gardens and EATS, but Executive Director Sloane Johnson says they wanted to work together for a bit before making too many other changes.

“We are Summit Community Gardens and EATS,” Johnson said. So we decided to wait and do our rebranding. possibly change the name in October. But we wanted to work together for about six months before we made that change.”

She says the merger makes a lot of sense because the work they do is very similar – just different times of the year.

“EATS is really focusing on education in the schools,” she said. “So that is during the winter months, and the garden is really focused on the summer. So, we really come together nicely. As for now we're keeping all the EATS programming in the schools, so they're teaching it Parleys, they're teaching it all the public schools as well as the Day School, and they have after school programs at Ecker. And then they're doing their composting programs in the schools . So, we're continuing with that, and then getting ready for garden season.”

This year all nine weeks of full day summer camp for elementary students will include cooking education and Johnson says they sold out quickly. They hope to add more weeks to the half-day preschool camps because there’s a long waiting list for the four weeks that have already sold out.

Information about any new summer camp opportunities she says is emailed first to members. They will also be announced in the monthly newsletter. See the website for signup information.

Summit Community Gardens opened in 2012 and became a nonprofit in 2015. It now offers 132 community garden plots in addition to demonstration beds that grow food for local families in need.

EATS was formed in 2014 with the mission to improve nutrition in Park City schools by removing processed foods and replacing them with fresh food and scratch-made meals.

Meanwhile, Gardens Director Melissa Soltesz will be offering some classes as the snow melts. The first is High Altitude Gardening on Wednesday, April 19 at 6 p.m. The class will be taught via Zoom and is designed for people interested in learning how to grow vegetables in our short growing season.

“I've already taught one of these classes. But given every day I teach a class, it's snowing. So, we wanted to offer it again, to give another opportunity to a lot of new gardeners. We have a lot of new plot renters this year. So, give them the opportunity to learn about how we are going to best grow things here at altitude, but also how to effectively and efficiently plan your garden too.”

A second class on starting seeds will be held on Thursday, April 20, also at 6 p.m. at the Swaner Nature Preserve. Materials will be provided. The class fees are $25.

Anyone buying seeds or starters she says need to look for plants that mature between 75 and 90 days and can be grown in zone five.

All 132 garden plots are spoken for, but names are being taken on the waitlist. The waitlist link can be found here.