Matt and Zelda Lopeman work in a Sprout of Control community garden project. Supplied

Wayne County has had a few hints of spring, and a local organization aims to grow support for its community gardening projects.

Sprout of Control seeks volunteers as well as donations of everyday items, such as plastic bottle caps and lids, potting soil, Mason jars, and freezer bags.

Those donated items will be used for its children’s garden and food preservation courses.

An open house from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at Dwyer Community Center, 1417 N. A St., Richmond, will provide more information on volunteer, learning and donation opportunities.

Sprout of Control aims to cultivate vibrant, healthy communities by maintaining and supporting gardens providing fresh produce and educational opportunities. Leaders believe their gardens will increase self-sufficiency and decrease food insecurity.

Three women — Jessica Clark, Susan Isasacs and Bethany Norwalt, who has since moved out of the county — collaborated to form the project in 2013, either revitalizing, continuing or starting new gardens in Richmond.

Its current garden is at 124 N. 17th St., a property given by the City of Richmond as part of the Blight Elimination Program. Fresh food is more than two miles away from the neighborhood, and many residents do not have transportation.

Clark, the organization’s president, said the open house is an opportunity for residents who want to start or plan a garden to learn more about the organization’s origins.

Even those who don’t have a green thumb can donate plastic caps/lids and No. 2 plastics (water and 2-liter soda bottles and milk jugs) for projects.

It takes a community effort to start the garden each year. Volunteers lead seeding demonstrations in local classrooms and with local 4-H clubs, providing seeds, seedling trays and soil. They allow kids to dig in and start vegetable seeds in recycled water bottles.

Organizers then care for the seedling trays until they eventually get planted in the community children’s garden.

In addition to the garden, Sprout of Control plans to offer eight food preservation workshops at Dwyer Community Center on topics such as water bath canning, pressure canning, and dehydrating and freezing food. Donations of new or used Mason jars, new lids and new freezer bags are needed for those workshops.

How to get involved with Sprout of Control

Spring Open House

  • When: 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 4
  • Why: Learn about community garden, upcoming cooking and food preservation workshops and how to volunteer
  • Where: Dwyer Community Center, 1417 N. A St., Richmond

Donating materials

  • Needed items include plastic bottle caps/lids and No. 2 plastic bottles, plus potting soil, freezer bags, and new and used Mason jars.
  • To arrange a pickup, call 765-542-9854 or email Financial gifts can be sent to P.O. Box 35, Richmond, IN 47375.

Info and volunteer survey:


Share this:

A version of this article appeared in the March 1 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.