Wilson Community Garden
500 S. Miller Avenue, Lafayette Colorado
"A History of Civic-Minded Land Use"
For 38 years, this humble piece of land has been a true community treasure. The garden is named after Lafayette coal miner and vegetable farmer Jim Wilson, who farmed this land for many years. His children Lora Starkey and Raymond Wilson started the garden in 1985, at the suggestion of local attorney Bill Zurinskas. With help from the “Sunrise” Lions Club, and the Clancy Waneka and Joe Distal families, irrigation and layout improvements were soon completed. The new garden was an immediate success, and all plots were rented within a year. Many of these plots were originally rented by Hmong people from Laos, seeking to continue their farming traditions.
The City of Lafayette bought the garden in 2002. Around 2019, City Staff noticed a drop in garden plot rentals, and decided an upgrade was needed. With support from City Council, they built a storage shed, compost bins, shade structure, and cutting edge irrigation facilities with central monitoring and cutting edge leak detection. Most importantly, they created individual planting beds to allow gardeners to realize their long-term investments in the soil, instead the soil being tilled under every year. Today there 76 plots of five sizes, including ADA-compliant raised beds, all available for year-round gardening at a nominal cost.
“Gardening is the purest of human pleasures.” - Sir Francis Bacon