Ridgefield residents called to enter ‘victory garden’ contest

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The Ridgefield victory garden contest is back for another year after rallying a large number of entries in 2020.

The contest name derives from the World War II era in the U.S., when supplies and goods were scarce, said Ridgefield Forward member Elizabeth Madrigal. As part of a campaign to raise patriotism, the government encouraged people to start “victory gardens.”

“It was very patriotic to have a vegetable garden and to maintain it with your own supplies,” Madrigal said. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced shutdowns last year, Madrigal said Ridgefield Forward wanted to organize a fun, informative event for the community, like the garden contest.

Group members decided to narrow the award categories to five rather than the 10 from the previous year, she said.

“There were so many pictures last year,” Lava Java owner Phuong Tran said. “It was really hard to choose because all of the gardens were amazing.”

At the end of August, judges will tour the gardens then choose winners for each of the five categories.

Tran, Ridgefield Forward co-founder Tracy Ceravolo and Ridgefield Main Street executive director MaryKay Lamoureaux will be the contest judges.

“I think that a lot of people when they garden, they’re really proud of what they’ve grown,” Tran said. “I think it’s really cool to get more people involved.”

More than 30 residents entered the contest in 2020, Madrigal said.

Contest organizers include Ceravolo, pediatrician Megan Dudley and Madrigal, a grant writer.

Madrigal encourages residents to move away from big, open lawns to plant native plants that make for better habitats for wildlife.

“People can plant things that emphasize the natural ways to feed the fauna and the little creatures out there in the wild,” she said.

Ridgefield Forward started as a concerned citizen group with the purpose of influencing elected representatives and community members to be more environmentally conscious, Madrigal said.

“We just hope that we can interest people in gardening and nature,” she said. “You don’t really move to a place like Ridgfield if you hate the outdoors.”

Anyone living in the 98642 zip code, including businesses, may enter the contest for a chance to win a $10 gift card from Lava Java, a Ridgefield-based coffee shop, and $20 in Main Street Moola to spend at downtown Ridgefield businesses.

Submissions will be accepted until Aug. 23. To enter, the garden must have been grown in 2021.

Those interested can post pictures of their gardens to the Ridgefield Forward Facebook page at facebook.com/Ridgefield
Forward/. In the post, contestants must indicate which category they would like to be entered into, as well as an explanation for why they think they should win.

As an alternative, submissions can be sent via email to mdona van@gmail.com.

This year’s categories:

Greenest Garden: Gardens with planet-saving practices are encouraged to submit for this category, like the use of upcycled materials or solar power.

Best Garden That Gives Back: The winner for this category should display how their garden provides for their family, the community, wildlife, pollinators and birds.

Best Youth Garden: This category is solely for those 18 and younger.

Most Improved: If you’re new to gardening, show the judges how you’ve improved by submitting before and after photos.

People’s Choice: The garden with the most positive Facebook comments will take home this accolade.

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