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August 15, 2013 8:50 am

EDITORIAL: Thumbs up to growers of all kinds

Written by Ilene Olson

This is an appropriate time to celebrate the people who turn our community and the northern Big Horn Basin green each year. We take our hats off and give a hearty thumbs up to the following people:

Thumbs up to the Powell Parks Department. The city’s parks are looking especially nice this year, and the improvement in Homesteader Park is striking. The landscaping at Homesteader Park has suffered for several years, first due to construction of the Powell Aquatic Center, and later during reconstruction of the rest area at the park.

This year, it’s enjoyable to drive by the park and see green, well-groomed grass and attractive landscaping. Once again, the park beckons to those who enjoy morning or afternoon walks, a picnic in the park or a few minutes lounging on the grass.

There still is room for improvement, however. Some trees at Homesteader Park are struggling due to disease and will need to be replaced. We also advocate for moving or constructing a group picnic shelter near the park’s playground. There is little for children in groups at the existing shelter to do within sight of their parents, as the view of the playground from the shelter is blocked by the pool facility on one side and the park’s hill on the other. Consequently, the shelter is under-used, and the playground often sits quiet.

Thumbs up, likewise, to the “flower girls,” Nancy Knight and Mikala Starcevich, who keep the city’s flower beds and planters healthy and colorful. From the flower bed by the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce to planters by city parking lots and Plaza Diane, to the smaller planters lining downtown streets, each is watered and cared for meticulously. The results are welcoming splashes of color and fragrance that make a visit downtown pleasant for residents and visitors alike.

Thumbs up to area farmers who are working together through local cooperatives to grow fresh produce for family tables in Wyoming. They work every day of the growing season to sell their locally grown produce to cooperative members and at local markets — be they farmers’ markets or local grocery stores.

A visit to a local farm recently was reminiscent of farms of the past — with melons, squash, beans, lettuce, peas, cucumbers, herbs,  and a variety of other plants growing in neat rows that spoke to the soul as well as the appetite. It’s hard work and an uphill battle here in the Big Horn Basin, where challenges for farmers abound. But, by using best practices and technologies, such as high tunnels, drip irrigation systems and plastic mulch, we believe they’ve started something good. We hope their efforts grow more successful each year, both for the farms and for their customers.

Thumbs up also to local growers who, despite having their crops pounded by hail twice within a week, continue to work their fields daily with hope for a harvest that will sustain their operations and get them through until next year — when, once again, they will plant their crops and look toward the skies daily with hope for good growing weather and an ample harvest.

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