East Central College will give use of a small plot of land to Franklin County Treatment Court.

The ECC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to lend use of a small plot on ground located behind the Regional Training Center for a community garden to be worked by Franklin County Treatment Court clients.

Judge Stanley Williams, who presides over the treatment court as both judge and administrator, said clients in advanced stages of the program must volunteer so many hours of community service, and finding placement for those clients is becoming difficult.

Typically, that community service is with the Franklin County Humane Society or the Red Cross, Williams said. But with up to 60 clients in the program at one time who might be required as much as 480 hours of community service, finding places for them to volunteer can be difficult.

The garden project would offer another opportunity to complete their hours.

Frances Miller, a volunteer with treatment court, said the garden would be a fenced 20- by 30-foot raised garden about and be non-certified organic.

“We’re going to try to be as natural and clean as possible,” she said.

Miller has enlisted four master gardeners from the University of Missouri Extension office that will help the clients set up, plant and maintain the garden.

“They are really fired up and want to do this,” she said.

Miller said there would be two to six clients scheduled to work the garden at a given time, and she would make sure campus security knew when they were there.

The garden harvest would be divided up among local food pantries, including the pantry at ECC, and some would go to the clients.

“We want them to be able to experience the fruits of their labor,” Williams said.