Margarita Lentfer and Carol Burks present Paige Merrill with a certificate of appreciation at the fifth anniversary celebration of the Whittam Community Garden. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Margarita Lentfer and Carol Burks present Paige Merrill with a certificate of appreciation at the fifth anniversary celebration of the Whittam Community Garden. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Carol Ann Burks went to the Marion-Polk Food Share (MPFS) in 2004 looking to volunteer.

She expected to be packing food boxes, but she ended up helping water a community greenhouse.

“I told them I wasn’t a gardener, but that was what they needed help with,” Burks said.

Then she was put in charge of the small team of volunteers watering at the greenhouse. When it came time to distribute seeds, the coordinator told her she should have a plot. Again, she said, “I am not a gardener.”

After some more encouragement, she took on a plot at Keizer’s Whittam Community Garden where she reaped a bountiful harvest in 2014. In 2015, she was asked to coordinate the efforts at Whittam and she had to stop telling herself she wasn’t a gardener.

“You don’t have to be a gardener, you just have to be willing and get your hands dirty,” Burks said.

On Sunday, Sept. 25, the Whittam Community Garden celebrated its fifth anniversary inviting present and past volunteers to come and be appreciated for their work.