COMMUNITY GEMS: New Carlisle man’s efforts help grow garden, community

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

John Krabacher’s community involvement is a multi-faceted, decades-long commitment to growth.

The New Carlisle resident was active on city council for many years and even spent a few as vice mayor. A former area business owner, he is a long-standing member of New Carlisle Church of the Brethren at 2019 North Main St.

Krabacher also works with Brethren Disaster Ministries to help rebuilds homes torn down by storms and tornadoes. That often involves going on missions to other countries and helping teach gardening to those requiring the skills.

Kathy Wright, also of New Carlisle, said she nominated Krabacher as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem for the aforementioned reasons. She lauded him as “an outstanding member of the community for a long time.” Wright also cited Krabacher’s involvement with New Carlisle’s Community Garden, which he helped organize and became director of in 2015.

“Six days a week from spring to fall John can be found doing maintenance, weeding, planting, having meetings and establishing the best community garden in all of Clark County,” Wright said. “Mostly he works alone because volunteers are hard to come by and the garden works on very little money.”

Krabacher said he’s motivated toward those efforts for one reason alone: “To help people.”

“My wife and I have done a lot of traveling throughout the world,” he said. “A lot of it was in Africa and Nigeria ... so we’ve seen some very poor people that suffer. I believe in that at some point in the United States, we’re going to see some of that.”

Krabacher said he is “heartbroken” to see photographs of people affected by tornadoes, floods or other disasters.

“It wasn’t anything that they did on their own, it just happened and they need help because of the trauma they went through,” he said. “They don’t know what to do.”

Krabacher said when a tornado ripped through the region in 2019, he and the members of Brethren Disaster Ministries started helping out on the second day by removing fallen trees from the side of houses with chainsaws in Harrison Twp.

“I worked 51 days straight there,” he said. “I don’t know how many roofs I climbed to put on blue tarps and try to stop leaks.”

Creating New Carlisle Community Garden came about after money problems led to a layoff of sheriff’s deputies, he said.

“When we did that, the crime rate went sky high, and so I wanted to find out a way that we could bring crime down,” Krabacher said. “One of the things is get people outside their house.”

He said the answer is to involve them in something everybody likes to do: eat.

“I wanted to find a way to bring them outside so that they can work together, be together, make conversation and start to learn each other all over again, and so gardening is one of the ways you do that,” he said.

A location on Madison Street that opened in 2016 closed earlier this year. The existing 10-acre community garden at 621 Walsh Drive was established in 2019 because it was a larger site with more opportunity to expand.

The garden has attracted people who have lived in the city and the region for most, if not all of there lives, plus families from Kenya, Guatemala and Mexico.

“It’s kind of turned international this year,” he said.

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