CRESTVIEW — When Crestview Community Garden members begin tilling their downtown plots, the going will be much easier thanks to a local insurance company's gift.
Allen Bell of Legacy Insurance recently presented garden cofounder Dr. Cathy Ward and cooperative members with a new power tiller during an impromptu Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce ceremony.
Bell's gift, valued at $350, was purchased at Wise Equipment and came as a surprise, Ward said. "It was magic! It just happened," she said. "We didn't solicit it. They just dropped it in our laps."
The Stihl Yard Boss cultivator can accept various attachments, including a bed edger and soil aerator, to increase its versatility, according to the manufacturer's website.
Chamber President Dennis Mitchell said presenting the tiller unannounced was typical of Bell's support for community organizations. "He has a long history of these kinds of generous things," Mitchell said.
Volunteers of the garden site off Main Street on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue include some Okaloosa County Master Gardeners. Boy Scouts from Troop 773 will soon work in the garden under the direction of Eagle Scout candidates Jerry Hand and Colby Walker, Ward said.
"It's pretty cool what's going on here and we're doing it all with local and private money," Ward said. "We Americans do what needs to be done. We pull together. If we want government to do less, we've got to do more."
Ward said low-income families in particular can benefit from the community garden to stretch their financial resources.
"They can use SNAP funds to buy seeds and seedlings and become self-sufficient," Ward said, referring to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Garden plot sponsors can help cash-strapped families with the $50 plot fee, Ward said. The family members can then work off the fee by working in the community garden.
The Main Street Crestview Association adopted the garden as a community project, Main Street member Cal Zethmayr said, and accepts donations from plot sponsors.
Call Cathy Ward, 758-8481, or visit crestviewcommunitygarden.org to learn more about the Crestview Community Garden