The Payson Community Garden was organized in February 2012 thru cooperative efforts of the Church of the Nazarene and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Church of the Nazarene donated usage of its land while the LDS church supervised project construction.
Volunteer tractor operators prepared and plowed the property and tilled in fifteen semi-truck loads of cow and horse manure to improve the soil. A 1200 foot long, eight-foot high, wire fence with welded supports was constructed to secure the area and to keep elk and javelina from disturbing the gardens. Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin donated the fence costs and volunteer labor did the installation.
Two water systems were installed for usage by each garden. An automated watering outlet was located at each garden. Additionally, a constantly pressurized water outlet was installed in the vicinity of each garden to allow gardeners to hand water as needed.
Many volunteers have assisted in the development of the garden, including members of the Church of the Nazarene, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mormon Missionaries, the Payson High School FAA classes and the Local Boy Scouts
Five separate Eagle Scout projects were completed in the garden. One project included the planning, planting and harvesting of the first pumpkin patch at the garden. Over 400 hills were planted with a yield of more than 500 large pumpkins. The pumpkin patch was open to the public in October with donations from the pumpkins going toward the purchase of a much needed shed for use by the gardeners, storage of equipment and supplies.
The Garden was open to the public on April 28, 2012 after just three months of construction thanks to the contributions of many community organizations and companies. (See acknowledgements page for a list of contributors).
There are currently 165 individual gardens measuring 6′ x 25′ and 22 elevated boxes so those with special needs may also garden.
The goal of the Payson Community Garden is to provide gardens at a low cost to the community, to encourage gardening, to teach gardening skills through classes that are open to the public and to provide fresh produce to the local food banks.