Amy Bump is an MTCC AmeriCorps Summer Associate VISTA serving with the FoodCorps team in Dillon.

We have a short gardening season here at 5,100 feet elevation, and the UM Western Campus Community Garden looks a little rough at this stage, as weeds and bare ground are the most visible aspect of the garden.  Quack grass is our nemesis, a vigorous grass that spreads by underground rhizomes.  We’ve been battling the quack, digging it, sieving it out of the beds, bit by bit.  Our vegetable seeds are planted, and we’ve been setting out greenhouse-grown seedlings in protective tents called “Walls of Water.”  We’ve been improving the garden paths, lining them with the locally abundant cobblestones. 
This summer I am serving as an MTCC Summer Associate VISTA at the UM Western Campus Community Garden in my hometown of Dillon, Montana.  The UM Western Campus Community Garden is in its third year of operation, on a small piece of land overlooking the UM Western campus.  This summer we are hoping to reach out to more of the community and involve the public in programs at the garden.
So, we have been busy since the first of June ridding the garden of grass and weeds, planting the beds, landscaping, and preparing for a summer of exciting programs.  We are planning to host gardening workshops, a possible cooking class, kids’ camps, and a kids’ corner at the local farmer’s market.
We have a number of dedicated volunteers (students, faculty, community members, an MTCC VISTA, and a PRC Summer Associate) that help operate the garden.  Most of the produce that we grow this summer will go to the college dining facilities, and we are even considering putting an herb garden by the main entrance to the dining hall.
We are still working out the quirks, and there is always room for making the garden better.  Overall, the work is great.  I enjoy being outdoors and learning from new people, and I’m happy to work toward bettering the community where I grew up.  The seeds are planted…I can’t wait to see what the summer holds!