LARAMIE -- Feeding Laramie Valley held a successful Grand Opening celebration of the new community garden Saturday, at Kiwanis Park in West Laramie, with well over 100 people participating in garden tours, visiting information booths, enjoying food, games, and prizes, and making their garden plot reservations for the year.

Diane and Jasmine enjoy some of the fresh food treats during Saturday’s grand opening at Feeding Laramie Valley’s new community garden. Diane said, “They have done a beautiful job here!” photos/Tom Kocal

Katherine Case, the AmeriCorps/VISTA representative for Feeding Laramie Valley, is the organization’s Community Garden Coordinator. She was pleased with the response Saturday.

“We are thrilled. We didn’t expect over 100 people in the first hour! We are in awe,” said Case.

“People who showed up weren’t just here for the plots. The volunteers who built this garden came out here, brought their families, the Girl Scouts who painted the pots came, and they all made a day of it. The community built this, it belongs to the community, and it really showed today.”

Veronica, Ruben, and Joselyn check out some of the 29 raised beds at the Kiwanis Park Community Garden. They live 2 blocks away and will support the garden. “It’s a wonderful addition to the park,” Veronica said.

The community garden at Kiwanis Park came to fruition after 3 years of planning and preparation that started with an advisory board made up of West Laramie residents. They made the community garden proposal to the Laramie City Council, who approved the project.

Laramie Vice Mayor Pat Gabriel stopped by the grand opening and said he even leased one of the 29 available raised beds.

“We have a garden plot at the cemetery, too. But this garden has tall fencing around the plots, which will keep the deer from feeding on my vegetables,” said Gabriel. “This is very well done, well planned.”

Mayor Joe Shumway got a tour of the garden from Case, and he expressed his approval of the new community garden space.

“It’s incredible the amount of work that they have done, how professional it is,” Shumway said.

“To me, it looks like a great community garden. I understand there is a lot of community support, a lot of people getting plots. It’s fun to see how the community came out today, for something that is not only good for them but good for the community.”

From left, Rebecca Ashley and Cassandra Hunter with High Plains Seed Library were very pleased with the turnout. The seed library has many varieties of vegetable and flower seeds available to local gardeners and is located at the Albany County Public Library in Laramie.

Information pamphlets from High Plains Seed Library, Barnyard Backyard magazine, the Laramie Garden Club, and Master Gardeners of Laramie from the UW Extension were available to visitors to take as well.

Case said that before the open house, FLV had 12 plots reserved, but were close to 100% reserved by the end of the day.

“We are going to put in more beds if necessary. We are so pleased. A big thank you to everyone. This would not have been possible if the community hadn’t come out and helped. We are looking forward to gardening with you this summer!”

People signed up to reserve their garden spot at the FLV information booth at Saturday’s grand opening.

Feeding Laramie Valley is located at 968 N. 9th St. in Laramie. Visit their web site at, or contact them at or 307-223-4399 for more information.