Every year the Main Street Cultural District (MSCD) partners with Country Landscapes and the City of Ames to bring spring to life in downtown Ames with flowers and plants. But this year the spring planting will include something new: vegetables. “We want our downtown residents to have access to fresh vegetables,” said Cindy Hicks, MSCD Executive Director. “There are many advantages to living in an apartment downtown, but having a vegetable garden usually isn’t one of them.” This year two beds were selected to be community vegetable garden spaces. One bed will be located on the west end of the street, near Bank of the West, while another is located on the east end of the street, on the northeast corner of Douglas and Main. In April, a group of students from Nevada High School cleared both beds and replaced the soil. The planting, which will take place Friday, May 19, is made possible by the Hy-Vee One-Step Garden Grant. Ross Grunwald, Store Director of Hy-Vee Pharmacy at Main and Clark, says he is excited his company is investing in healthy eating options for downtown residents. “At Hy-Vee, we take pride in giving back to the communities we serve and helping citizens in our trade area,” said Grunwald. “I am glad to partner in a way to make customers healthier and happier through a community garden. “ The MSCD hopes to expand the vegetable garden areas to more beds next year and incorporate trellises and multi-level garden boxes. “Over time we want to build this community vegetable garden up to include areas on every block,” said Hicks. “The two gardens this year will give us an idea of how it can work, serving as a learning experience.” Any vegetables that are not picked by downtown residents will be harvested and donated to Food at First.