During the past year, a community garden in southeast Keizer has gone largely unused at Salem Mennonite Church.

A group of Keizer residents will begin restoring to its pre-pandemic state on Saturday, April 17, and they are inviting other members of the community to pitch in. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The church is located at 1045 Candlewood Drive N.E.

“I live close to the church and I’m part of a group of other Keizer residents known as Progressive Keizer. RJ Navarro put me in touch with the previous coordinator and we decided to help restore it as a group,” said Clare Snyder, project coordinator. “There are a lot of families in this neighborhood that could use the fresh produce and it can also be used to teach others how to garden at their homes if they have space.”

A portion of the space will be rented out as low-cost private gardens, but other space will be open to the public to plant and harvest as needed.

“There are some raised beds already on the site and we want to leave those in place, but we will be reorganizing some of the other areas,” Snyder said. “Anything we harvest that doesn’t get used in the neighborhood will be donated to the Marion Polk Food Share.”

Snyder said support from area businesses and neighborhood residents has already been generous.

“Our goal for this weekend is a good start. We’ll be doing some tilling and some of the initial planting and try to restore some of the beauty it had before COVID hit. The more hands we have helping, the quicker the work will go,” she said.

Even though the event will be outdoors, volunteers will be asked to wear a mask while volunteering at the garden.