Visitors to the Penn Yan Community Garden (PYCG) this spring will notice a new feature designed to make the garden more welcoming and accessible. The spacious new sun shelter, built by Lester Hoover and funded by a grant from the J.M. McDonald Foundation, provides shade and seating for visitors and PYCG members. At 10’x10’the wood structure serves as an open-air retreat for garden gazing and a place to take a break protected from the sun. It will also help the Yates County Master Gardeners to host programs and activities. As the garden receives full sun throughout the day in the hot summer months, the sun shelter will serve as an “outdoor classroom” for gardening or food preparation demonstrations, guest speakers, and group discussions. 

Located at the end of Pleasant Avenue a short distance from downtown Penn Yan, the Penn Yan Community Garden mission is to improve access to garden space and nutritious, affordable, local food, to provide gardening and environmental education for kids and adults, and to promote cooperation, self-sufficiency, and personal empowerment in a greener and more beautiful community.

It’s not too late to become a member of the PYCG! An annual Garden Membership is pay-as-you-can sliding scale from $0–$25, and your membership entitles you to one 4-foot by 10-foot raised garden plot, compost, water supply, access to the tool shed and garden tools, fencing, a share of compost (when available), and use of a dedicated member parking lot. Many vegetable varieties can be planted in July and August for fall harvest. Members and visitors can also pick up helpful hints about what to grow next year by viewing the Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners demonstration beds. Labeled with informational signs, these beds are tended by the Yates County Master Gardeners as part of our support of Cornell Cooperative Extension. 

In a time of concerns about public health, the need for physical distancing, and the cancellation of many summertime community events and activities, the Penn Yan Community Garden is an ideal place to enjoy the outdoors and get your hands dirty growing your own fresh and tasty produce. Gardeners of all skill levels are welcome, and your participation will help support and build this community asset. Stop by for a visit, enjoy a bit of shade, and plan your new garden!