ServErie at Emmaus Grove: The Erie Urban Farm School
ServErie at Emmaus Grove: The Erie Urban Farm School

It’s hard to believe but Emmaus Grove: The Erie Urban Farm School is already six years old. And after producing tons of food for guests at Emmaus, the garden beds began to show their age. “Replacing the beds was an ideal project for ServErie,” said staff member Breanna Mekuly. “On the first Saturday of April, volunteers pulled out over 20 old beds and built new ones, preparing the garden for the growing season.”

ServErie is a local organization that mobilizes thousands of volunteers to serve in Erie with the hopes of positively impacting the community. Their goal is to restore the community “by connecting people in need to resources available.” On Saturday, over 100 people volunteered around Erie with ServErie.

Matt Dzuricky was the ServErie site leader at the Emmaus Grove: The Erie Urban Farm School. “I just retired from the military,” Matt said, “so I have a lot of extra time to get involved in things. My buddy works with ServErie and suggested I become a site leader.” When he found out a few weeks earlier that he would be working at the Emmaus Grove, he reached out to Mike Bailey, one of the master gardeners, and asked to meet with Mike right away to get to know more about what their tasks would be. “Mike showed me the garden and we even planted tomatoes and peppers together so by the time the event came, I was ready and knowledgeable to lead a group,” said Matt.

On the day of the ServErie event, eight volunteers came to Emmaus. “Did you volunteer to be here or were you ‘voluntold’ to be here?” Matt asked the group. He found that they were there for a variety of reasons, some who chose to volunteer in their free time and some who needed service hours for school or parole. “It was really great that we were a diverse group like that,” said Matt. “We looked different but we learned from one another; everyone worked really well together.”

As for Matt, getting involved in the garden was the “best thing” for him. “I’ve never really gardened before,” he said, “because as a soldier my profession was really fast paced – I almost never was out of my uniform. But at this phase in my life, working with Mike Bailey and the garden has been something I’ve gotten into. It helps slow me down, think, and get through some anxiety.” This ServErie project at Emmaus Grove is just the beginning for his gardening future. “I’ll probably continue gardening wherever I go next.”