The idea of a community garden on the grounds of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1450 E. Dublin-Granville Road, has been kicked around for the past few years.

Nikki Zupp, who moved to Northland in April from the East Side of Columbus, is willing to take on the challenge of developing a garden. She said she believes a community garden could serve as a way of building relationships among people in the area.

"I highly enjoy gardening and I always try to get everyone interested in it," she said. "If they come to my house, I end up giving them a tour of the yard.

"I want to incorporate anyone who wants to grow."

Jenny Lin, chairwoman of the Northland Alliance, called it "exciting news."

The community garden concept has been discussed at meetings of the Northland Partners for Opportunity, which Lin has convened for representatives of local nonprofit organizations.

"Some exciting news is that we have someone gung ho to develop a community garden of some kind at St. Andrew," Lin wrote in an email after the last Northland Partners meeting Oct. 4. "She has a lot of great ideas and I am working with her to support and get the right resources in place. I know a lot of you have an interest in garden or food access so please let me know if you want to be involved in this. I'd love to see several of our different cultures involved."

St. Andrew Presbyterian sits on 5.8 acres, so there is plenty of room for a community garden, although there is no water source, the Rev. Phyllis A. Heffner said. Church members frequently have discussed letting someone use a portion of the property for a community garden, she said.

"As long as you maintain, you plant it, you weed it, you clean it up, we're OK," Heffner said. "We will let you use the land if you maintain and take care of it. If it's abused, we'll revoke the privilege."

Zupp said she has not determined which approach to take in organizing the community garden, whether it's renting sections of raised beds or having people do labor in exchange for planting privileges.

"There's so much space there," she said. "I think a children's garden would be cool. I have four kids, so I think anything involving kids would be nice.

"I hope to have something by spring, like May, because that's when you start planting most vegetables. That might be ambitious, but if that happens, that would be fabulous."

Lin said, "From my perspective, there is great potential for there to be a real mix of people from our community getting to know each other and also to provide and share healthy food.

"Considering our grocery stores are disappearing and there is a shortage of green space, this is a great blessing and opportunity."

Zupp can be reached via email to nizup03@yahoo.com or on Facebook at the North Columbus Neighborhood Gardening Club.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1