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COVID Gardens Bloom in The Miami Valley

Carrots from Dayton Urban Grown, a training farm on Xenia Avenue in the city. Founder Lisa Helm says the classes she offers have been packed since the pandemic reached America.
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Carrots from Dayton Urban Grown, a training farm on Xenia Avenue in the city. Founder Lisa Helm says the classes she offers have been packed since the pandemic reached America.

During World War I and World War II, millions of Americans started Victory Gardens. Today, they’re starting COVID gardens.

Lisa Helm is the founder of Dayton Urban Grown, a farm in the city.

She says she’s been super busy since mid-March when demand for gardening skills and supplies skyrocketed.

“All the major seed suppliers were sold out and had to close for a while because there were so many people buying seeds, and then there was a run on baby chickens,” Helm says with a laugh. “You couldn’t buy baby chickens anywhere!”

She jokes that full grown chickens will be pretty cheap come July, when some of these new farmers discover how hard it is to raise them.

Still, she says, more than anything else, she wants to see local gardeners succeed.

Local farmers practice organic gardening and social distancing at Dayton Urban Grown on Xenia Avenue.
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Dayton Urban Grown is a training farm, where people come to learn to be more self-sufficient. Helm’s seen a lot more interest lately, during these days of grocery store shortages and social distancing.

“I’m teaching people to do small scale, year round, sustainable, regenerative vegetable production,” Helm says. “That’s really good for the environment.”

If you’re not into gardening yourself, you can buy some of Dayton Urban Grown’s produce this Saturday, when the 2nd Street Market in downtown Dayton reopens at 10 a.m.

The 2nd Street Market has new hours, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays only, and there will be strict Coronavirus safety precautions in place. People who want to learn gardening can also order vegetable starter plants and kits from Dayton Urban Grown.