As we head toward the fall, I wanted to reflect back on the evolution of the Barbourville Community Garden this summer.
On April 25th the Lend-A-Hand Center Grow Appalachia Gardening Program and Union College partnered for a meeting about setting up a community garden on Union College’s campus. A committee had met a few times prior to this meeting to discuss logistics and partnerships. Several members from the college and community came to the open meeting to discuss what the community garden could be. We discussed possibilities for a community garden agreement that individual gardeners would sign and many people gave their input on how they thought a community garden could serve the community.
After a location was chosen, work began on getting the garden ready, putting in the beds, and signing up participants.
Gardeners agreed to a community garden agreement that outlined their responsibilities and their privileges in the garden. Groups and individuals have participated in the garden including the local Girl Scout Troop, a Spread the Health MicroClinic group, Union faculty, and community members. We put signs on the main road and by the garden so people could know about the garden and the sponsors involved.
Two beds were also “community” or “communal” beds as was a large regular garden bed area that produced beans, corn, sunflowers, and a few mini-pumpkins. Additionally, gardeners harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, a variety of peppers, greens, cabbage, carrots, and okra.
Overall, I think the garden was a success this year. We hope to expand on the community garden next year and find new people to be a part of the program as we learn from each other and work together. As this weekend we get ready to install a low tunnel in a raised bed it seems like just yesterday that we were just starting this project!