Locals invited to name new network of community gardens

Published 9:33 am Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Metro Services The community gardens will enable community members to contribute to the production of nutrition-dense local food. The harvest will be for everyone, and numerous groups are already joining in the project to contribute ideas, funds and supplies.

Metro Services
The community gardens will enable community members to contribute to the production of nutrition-dense local food. The harvest will be for everyone, and numerous groups are already joining in the project to contribute ideas, funds and supplies.

What would you name a network of community gardens in Carter County? The Gardening Subcommittee of the Community Advisory Board wants the community to participate in a contest to name the four gardens which members are building and cultivating for harvest this Fall.
“Each garden is a unique space serving a different population, so we want the name to reflect that,” said Ashlee Williams, subcommittee member and children’s librarian with Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library (ECCPL).
Contest winners will each be awarded $50 gift cards.
The gardens will not only serve as a centerpiece for a developing agricultural education program, but as proof of the interest and commitment to food security that numerous agencies share in Carter County.
“Each space will provide children, seniors and families in our community the opportunity to work in a garden,” said Jilian Reece, subcommittee member and health educator for the Tobacco Settlement with the Carter County Health Department (CCHD). “By learning to grow what they eat, we will be helping to create a sustainable food source to benefit both the health and finances of people in Carter County.”
These gardens will serve as examples for funding agencies like Grow Appalachia to consider when the committee applies for funding in the Fall. This funding will be used to establish a backyard gardening program for 2017, modeled after and created in conjunction with Build it Up East Tennessee in Johnson City.
“We saw all these community agencies interested in coming together to do this for the county, and we all serve populations in need of this, so we wanted to help everyone learn to grow their own food and also to see where it comes from,” said Reece.
The four gardens are located at the ECCPL, the Elizabethton Senior Center, the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency (EHDA) and behind Village Pediatrics and Breastfeeding Medicine. At each location, community members of all ages will plant and nurture a variety of crops for community consumption.
The subcommittee members represent the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Office, the CCSD, the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County (BGCECC), Elizabethton Senior Center, EHDA, Elizabethton Parks and Recreation, Downtown Chiropractic, Master Gardener Emily Mason and the ECCPL.
To submit a name for the gardens, complete the attached form and turn it in at the ECCPL at 201 N Sycamore St., Elizabethton by March 13. Winners will be notified by March 30.
Over a dozen agencies are assessing the resources available with consideration to land, funding, supplies and labor, and they invite everyone interested to join in the project. Contributions of time, money, tools, fertilizer, seeds, plants and soil are all welcome.
Cash donations may be made at Downtown Chiropractic at 109-B N. Sycamore St., Elizabethton.
Reece said a raised bed can be built for $50, so if people or businesses want to sponsor a bed, that will be greatly appreciated.
Some financing may be available through UT Extension partners; and Elizabethton Parks and Recreation, EHDA and ECCPL have said they have some funding to contribute.
The gardens are being designed to be interactive for all.
Youth participating in BGCECC programs this summer will be visiting the library, where they will have opportunities to work in the gardens. Senior residents at the Senior Center will manage their garden as well.
ReadNPlay, a program that supports positive interaction between parents and children through literature and active learning, is partnering with the subcommittee to provide kids’ gardening clinics as well.
Regina Wilder, director of coordinated school health with Elizabethton City Schools, spoke about the success of gardening programs in the schools and explained funding and maintenance obstacles and solutions.
“We are definitely interested in developing partnerships with the schools and their [Future Farmers of America] programs,” said Reece.
Hampton and Cloudland High Schools have agreed to supply some plants. Build It Up may be able to provide some seeds, according to Close.
In addition to donations for the gardens, Reece said the library has agreed to facilitate a lending library of tools, which will be available for checkout just like books or digital media. Though it is in its initial phases, she said donations of tools are welcome as well. These will be available for use in the community gardens and for residents in their personal gardens to help make gardening affordable and accessible for all.
The next subcommittee meeting will be held at the library on March 2 at 1:30 p.m. For more information, contact Ashlee Williams or Cheri Tinney at the library at 423-547-6360.
NW0223 Community Garden form

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