In September 2009, a small group of people with a big passion in Columbus, Neb., began to dream about starting a community garden. People in the community joined the garden committee, including a University of Nebraska Extension educator, church members and community leaders.

A very gracious couple in the United Methodist Church in Columbus allowed the garden to be behind their house in an extra lot they owned. The Columbus Telegram newspaper was very helpful in writing several articles informing the community of our dream.

We were so fortunate to receive donations from the Columbus Community Hospital, United Way, the Natural Resource Conservation Services, two churches, the Master Gardeners and some businesses.

In March 2010, we started letting the community know that the applications and rules documents were available for them to pick up and that there was no charge for the plots. As people turned in their application blanks, plots were assigned and a garden map was given to each gardener.

Our garden included Anglo and Hispanic/Latino families, hospital patients who were undergoing physical therapy, a hospital dietician who used her plot to teach children about healthy eating, young families with children and retired people. Many of the gardeners lived in apartments and had no opportunity to have a garden.

For more information about the Columbus Community garden, visit their blog at http://columbuscommunitygarden.blogspot.com/

For more information about starting a community garden, contact United Methodist Ministries and The Big Garden in Omaha, Neb., www.gardenbig.org.