Community garden takes shape

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Michelle Jones and her 7-year-old son, Trip, worked side-by-side Saturday morning, spreading soil on a patch of land that will soon be transformed into a community garden, providing fruit, vegetables and herbs to those in need.
“It’s good, I think, at an early age to teach them to give back,” Jones said.
They were among about 10 people who pushed up their sleeves to wield rakes and shovels to help get the land at Sacred Heart Catholic Church ready for workers from the Piedmont Research Station to plow this week.
Church member Gretchen McKivergan, said the idea for a community garden came about as a way to make sure people have food on the table.
She said she heard about the success of a community garden run by St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Concord, which donated about 2,000 pounds of food to people in need last year.
“I know a number of us in the parish that given the current economic situation we may not always have the means to go out and buy things or the space to plant,” McKivergan said. “Our hope is to be able to help out our community.”
Individuals can buy seeds and plant whatever they desire in their designated rows.
“Whatever they plant, basically they work it,” McKivergan said.
Jones said her family plans to grow an assortment of lettuces, radishes, beets, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes and a variety of herbs such a cilantro and basil.
“With the economic times the way they are, I think it’s good that we are kind of going back to our roots,” she said.
But for Jones the garden isn’t just about growing food, it’s also a hands-on way to provide her children with valuable lessons.
“I don’t really feel like youth today have a lot of education when it comes to where food comes from and the whole process that it goes through, so in home school this year we did a raised garden bed and that worked out really well,” she said. “It worked out because they ended up trying things that they wouldn’t normally have tried.”
Scott Denhard said he’s happy to help with the garden because he knows it’s for a good cause.
“I think it’s great with the new property that we have the land to do something like this,” he said. “Plus, I have the opportunity to work with everybody in the parish.”
Renee Washington said the community garden has given her an outlet to combine her love of gardening and giving back.
“I’ve read about these things and I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s about time we got into doing this, we have a lot of people here in the county and at our church that could use this food.”
Noah Garieas, 16, said he’s happy to lend a hand whenever the church needs him, but he’s particularly excited about this project.
“Working outside is preferable to working at a desk,” he said. “I like being able to physically work to help people, I think this is a great idea.”
Anyone is welcome lend a hand in the garden. Contact McKivergan at 703-433-5772 or for more details.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.