Last week we were lucky enough to have Jill Edwards, Black Mountain Recreation and Parks, host our February Wellness Webinar. She discussed their Eat Smart Black Mountain program. Black Mountain has been extremely successful in creating, and maintaining their community gardens, as well as offering healthy eating education. This week’s blog discusses Black Mountain’s community gardens concepts and ideas to aid your department in implementing similar programs.
Black Mountain’s Eat Smart program includes three community gardens, two youth gardens, a demonstration garden and their largest garden, the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden. Between these various gardens, the Black Mountain community has an estimated annual produce yield of roughly 13,000 pounds. The fruits grown include, but are not limited to: apples, blackberries, blueberries, pawpaws, strawberries, and watermelon. Some of the vegetables grown are: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, onion, peppers, potatoes and spinach.
Their success with community gardens stems from the asset based community development (ABCD) concept. ABCD is a process by which neighborhood regeneration can be achieved by locating all of the available local assets and connecting them with one another in ways that multiply their effect. ABCD’s breakdown includes five categories: associations, individuals, institutions, local ecology and local economy. Briefly, associations include groups that are powered by individuals. Mainly focusing on how individuals can motivate groups of people to come together for a common goal and to empower communities to produce and eat healthier foods. Next, individuals, which includes residents and volunteers, also have a strong impact on creating and maintaining community gardens. Volunteers are the heart and soul of community projects, like gardens. Institutions, like businesses, non-profits, and public organizations can play a part in offering options and getting community members involved in these type of developments. The next category, local ecology, is what the land around you has to offer, it is important to understand what sort of fruits and vegetables can be grown around you. And lastly, the local economy, including arborist, garden shops and various sponsors, can establish local community goals and missions to inspire people to come together and grow a healthier community. Jill also discusses resources, such as American Community Garden Associations, NRPA Grow your Park, as well as our NCRPA Community Gardens page, which offers suggestions, tips and ideas when establishing your own community garden,
The Eat Smart Black Mountain program works to promote healthy eating and active living through hands-on gardening and nutritious programs. If you missed out on this informative webinar, click the following Vimeo link to watch: https://vimeo.com/154759752
Lastly, NC Recre8’s statewide 5k is excited to announce registration is now live! The race will take place on Saturday, April 16, at various locations across North Carolina. Click the following link for more information and to check if there are any race locations by you: www.ncparkrun.com
If you would like to share your ideas regarding community gardens, please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)