Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 8

GEORGIA News
Compiled by Jennifer J. Hewett
L
From food desert to community oasis
abeled a food desert by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, the Fairmont community in
Griffin historically has had few nearby options
for sourcing fresh, nutritious food. But this
desert is becoming an oasis of fresh fruits and
vegetables thanks to a group of dedicated agencies
and volunteers who have worked for nearly 10 years
to create a thriving community garden.
The Healthy Life Community Garden, established
in 2012, began as a partnership among the
city of Griffin, the Fairmont community, the Griffin
Housing Authority, the local chapter of the NAACP,
Spalding County, the University of Georgia (UGA)
Cooperative Extension office in Spalding County
and UGA's Center for Urban Agriculture. Funding
for the project comes from a yearly grant from the
Griffin Housing Authority, which covers the cost of
supplies for operating the garden and the salary for
a garden manager.
With many agencies and volunteers involved,
the garden has become a huge
success, garnering a 2021 County
Excellence Award from Georgia Trend
magazine and the Association of
County Commissioners of Georgia.
" What the county set up for
us-incorporating the high-risk community
and the number of agencies
involved-I don't know of any other
areas nearby that have something like
this, " garden manager Patty Beckham
said. Beckham serves as the agriculture
and natural resources program
assistant with Spalding County
Extension.
Since its first harvest in 2013,
the garden has grown from 20 raised
planting beds to 36 and has added
wheelchair-accessible beds, a pavilion,
a children's garden, a greenhouse, indoor
bathrooms, irrigation and crushed-slate walkways.
Last year, the garden was relocated from the old
Fairmont School to the corner of North Third and
Blanton streets. The new site provides more space
for cultivation and special community programs,
such as cooking classes and library and Extensionsaid.
" It gives us a way to teach both children and
adults while gardening. I'm a retired teacher, so
any opportunity to bring education into the
8 Georgia Magazine October 2021
Since its establishment
in 2013, the community
garden has expanded
from 20 raised planting
beds to 36, with wheelchair-accessible
beds, a
pavilion, a children's
garden, a greenhouse,
indoor bathrooms and
crushed-slate walkways.
Program coordinator Ellen Bauske triumphantly
brandishes a fresh cucumber picked
from the beds at the Healthy Life Community
Garden in Griffin.
garden is a favorite of mine. "
This year garden patrons planted a
variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes,
okra, corn, peas and beans. A section
dedicated to fruit includes cantaloupes,
blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
and muscadines. As summer fades
to fall, the garden transitions to
producing fall and winter vegetables
to ensure that the community has
fresh, nutritious food year-round.
But for many, the garden is about more than just having access to a
food source. It is an opportunity to meet and interact with members of their
community while working their plots.
" This garden offers not only food but [also] camaraderie and a social
led programs.
" The programs are my favorite part, " Beckham
aspect, " Beckham said. " We take the opportunity to teach what we know,
but we also learn a lot. For example, I had never seen a carrot in the ground
until I began working with the garden. It is giving us a way to involve the
neighborhood and the community as a whole, and things are going very
well. "
Learn more about UGA Extension programs at extension.uga.edu.
-Ashley N. Biles, UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
COURTESY UGA CAES
http://extension.uga.edu

Georgia Magazine - October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - October 2021

Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 4
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 5
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 6
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 7
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 8
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 9
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 10
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 11
Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - 12
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Georgia Magazine - October 2021 - Cover3
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