Working in close collaboration with the University of Georgia Horticulture Department, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful (KACCB) and a number of other community partners, ALT will create two major “hub” gardens, which will serve as demonstration and teaching sites, and will help interested community groups to establish multiple satellite gardens throughout the community. The School Garden Committee was established as a sub-committee of the CGN in an effort to promote school gardens and engage the community in gardens at local schools.
The CARE Garden of AIDS Athens
We have had the pleasure this spring/summer of helping AIDS Athens launch their new community garden, known as The Care Garden. The first of several garden container installation sessions took place in mid-April with Patrick Reilly, other AIDS Athens staff and volunteers, and an Athens Land Trust intern. The group assembled four garden containers, the sides of which had been previously constructed off-site by Patrick and a similar troupe of assistants, under the guidance of garden container wizard, Chris McDowell.
Since then, The Care Garden has grown in more ways than one. Additional containers have been installed and crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squashes, and watermelons have flourished. Garden benches and several vertical planters have been constructed out of pallets. During weekly gatherings in the Garden, the vegetables and herbs are tended and, on occasion, a class is held when schedules and weather allow.
None are yet daunted by the local groundhog that defoliated the sweet potato vines, for the community is dedicated to its Garden and the many fruits that can be reaped from it on many levels.
Interfaith Hospitality Networks nationwide bring “the faith community together to help families regain their housing, their independence, and their dignity.” In keeping with that goal, The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens (IHNA) nurtures vegetables and ornamental flowers in its Fresh Start Community Garden. Snapdragons and Pinks (Dianthus) adorn raised garden containers which also house seasonal vegetables. Early in 2013, oak leaf lettuce, radishes, edible pod peas, and spinach flourished amongst the flowers. Summer 2013 has brought a small profusion of peppers, cucumbers, and squash
*The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens, Inc., welcomes volunteers for its Fresh Start Community Garden.
Please contact Ken Sherman, IHNA Executive Director, (706) 425-1881.
Garnett Ridge, a mostly-Latino neighborhood in north Athens, has a very active Boys and Girls Club, which conducts a number of after-school and summer programs for youngsters. Both the unit director of the Boys and Girls Club there, as well as some Garnett Ridge residents, have gathered hefty harvests from their Community Garden, originally launched during the summer of 2011. Their 2012 cool season crops were particularly seed-catalogue worthy!
The backyard at Action Ministries has become home to a community garden for growing selected herbs and vegetables. Harvests from the garden will be utilized by the Community Kitchen and other hunger-solution programs offered by Action.
Tucked behind a picket fence in a sunny spot between buildings, the community garden at Riverwood Apartments may not be large, but it is bountiful and busy! Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and other crops have flourished. ALT held a CGN Workshop at the garden, and Riverwood gardeners have planned seasonal gatherings there for everyone to enjoy.
*Riverwood Apartments seeks volunteers to assist with its ongoing Community Garden projects.
Please contact Tony Oscar, Manager, at (706)353-2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guided by volunteers, the Athens Area Homeless Shelter Community Garden largely serves as an after-school source of activity and learning for children of homeless parents. The garden wraps itself snugly around two sides of the Homeless Shelter, enabling easy access, not just to planting, weeding, and watering with ease, but also to the enticing harvest of vegetables and herbs.
*The Athens Area Homeless Shelter (AAHS) is hosting regular Community Garden Volunteer opportunities. The schedule is as follows: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6, Saturdays from 10 to 2. Experienced and non-experienced folks are all welcome.
To sign up for volunteering with the AAHS and their lovely Community Garden, please visit: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0849ABAE2AA31-garden.
Reverend Bascoe Jackson Community Garden
at Hill Chapel Baptist Church
Hill Chapel Baptist Church is a predominately African-American church with a 100-year history in the West Hancock community. Pastor Michael Gerald met with ALT in the fall of 2010 with the idea of establishing a community garden with an outdoor education and worship space. Church members attended the spring 2011 “Starting a Community Garden Workshop” series at ALT and began planning the garden. The garden’s first planting was in April of 2011. The vegetables, grown communally, are shared among the garden members, the community members who receive weekly meals from the church, and the neighbors.
*Hill Chapel Baptist Church is currently looking for volunteers to assist with their ongoing Community Garden projects.
Please contact Hill Chapel’s Diane Easley at (706)248-1978 for more information.
Athena Gardens Community Garden
With the corporate sponsorship of US Lawns and the help of many volunteers, a community garden was established at the Athena Gardens Retirement Community in March of 2012. Residents of Athena Gardens cooperatively share responsibility for managing their fourteen 4′ x 20′ raised beds and regularly enjoy the harvest of their garden through communal meals prepared in the facility’s kitchen.
Athens Community Council on Aging Gardens
The gardens at the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA) have been expanded, thanks to many volunteer hours by UGA Service Ambassadors, Horticulture students, LEAD Athens, and volunteers during MLK Day of Service and Green Day of Service 2012. A once-abandoned parking lot is now home to 18 raised containers in which produce is grown for ACCA’s Meals on Wheels, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and other programs. The Intergenerational Garden at ACCA is still thriving. Produce from it goes to Center for Active Living (CAL plus) participants, especially the Garden Club members.
With over 10 years of history under its belt, the Mae Willie Morton Community Garden of the Brooklyn Neighborhood is widely recognized as one of the oldest community gardens in Athens. The garden, formerly located across the street from its present location, now thrives upon the site of a former drug house that was subsequently razed. The site was donated to the neighborhood by the Housing Authority in 2006. In a place where undesirable activities once were rampant, now, flowers and vegetables grow rampantly – in a fruitful way for all.
Pinewood Community Garden
With the support of Master Gardener Brendan Nordgren and Pinewood Library’s Branch Director Aida Quinones, Master Gardener Helen Kuykendall and ALT’s Stephanie Bergamo coordinated and led a Junior Master Gardener Golden Ray Series program. More than 40 Pinewood youth received Certificates of Recognition in the program and the group of young gardeners as a whole, known as the Pinewood Green Rangers, received a Certificate of Completion.