The Community Market of Pottawatomie County Food & Resources Center has just had another grand opening. In its first spring in operation, the center officially established its own community garden Tuesday.

The Community Market of Pottawatomie County Food & Resources Center has just had another grand opening. In its first spring in operation, the center officially established its own community garden Tuesday.

On a 7,000 square-foot plot of land just to the south of the market, volunteers have been working hard to get it planted and ready for the season, Executive Director Daniel Matthews said.

“We will use the produce for our guests at the market,” he said, “and also do educational classes on growing produce at home.”

He said the first class is at 1 p.m. today at the nonprofit, 120 S. Center.

There's no need to register, Matthews said, just bring a bucket to plant in.

In March the center crossed a milestone — serving 1 million pounds of food.

“And in April, we will see our 50,000th guest,” Matthews said.

All this has happened in the first 10 months of operation; the market's first anniversary isn't until July 5.

The center is a group effort to end hunger in the area.

“As we come together as a community we have the opportunity to be a game changer for those in our county who battle hunger,” Matthews said.

Matthews said the problem most have at a typical grocery store is that healthful options seem to always be more expensive, so someone on a strict budget ends up eating less healthy because they can't afford the best choices.

Support for the Community Market comes from Avedis, which invested $750,000 into the Community Market and has also played a vital role in the development of the center, as well as the Regional Food Bank. Community partners include: AARP, Family of Faith Church, Gordon Cooper Technology Center, Mission Shawnee, Oklahoma State University Extension, Salvation Army and United Way.

As always, donations are welcome. According to the Community Market website, $1 equates to five meals; $90 equates to one month of meals for a family of four.

To make a donation, volunteer or get more information, visit ourcommunitymarket.org or call (405) 788-4957.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.