Keep Clark County Beautiful

Volunteers from Cedarville University, Wittenberg University, and the Childrens Rescue Center pitched in to spruce up the Jefferson Street Oasis community garden and Gopher Dome community center on Saturday, March 22, 2014. They collected over 40 bags of litter in addition to removing illegally dumped tires.

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful’s hugelkultur gardens, Athens, AL

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, in Athens, Ala., is building hugelkultur gardens, which start with a hole a foot or two deep and then get filled with tree trunks, logs and branches.  Once the holes were dug, KALB volunteers filled them up with leaf mulch provided by the City of Athens from its fall leaf pickup, and horse and cow manure from grass-fed animals.  The garden beds will then be covered with topsoil, creating the raised garden bed.  The raised bed will be left to settle over the winter and planting will begin on the mounds in the spring.  The tree trunks and limbs become spongy as they begin to decompose and absorb rain water, which are fed back to the plants.  All of the organic material works together to create an environment conducive to the growth of organisms important to creating great soil.

“This type of gardening was unknown to me until some of our garden committee members who run a completely organic farm shared it with us,” said Lynne Hart, executive coordinator of KALB. “We looked it up — there is tons of information and videos online — and decided this would be a great way to create a portion of our new community garden using natural materials that are available at no cost.  And, it mimics what happens right in Mother Nature’s forests!  How much better can it get?”

The hugelkultur raised garden beds are part of a KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant project, located at Athens’ Farmers Market.

KALB Garden Project Showing Progress – Athens, AL

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, Spirit of Athens, City of Athens, and the Limestone County Commission are so pleased with the progress being made on this community garden project at the Farmer’s Market!

Volunteers have built a shed for needed garden tools, and a gazebo to enhance the property. Our local Lowe’s Heroes donated their time and the supplies to add landscaping and a walkway to the gazebo area.

Doug Doerr, Boy Scout Troop 240, and his troop are working on building raised beds in the front section of the market.  This is Doug’s Eagle Scout project and is one of the largest projects taken on by a local scout.  Mike Doerr, Doug’s father, is on the project team.

Bricks donated by Lynn Persell Home Builders and Bassco Cast Stone will be used for one oblong raised bed and stone block from Lowe’s will be used to build two keyhole beds.  Unused culverts donated by the City of Athens will be turned on end at different heights to be filled with plants and flowers.

The raised beds will need to be filled with soil.  Anyone with good, clean soil they might be willing to donate should contact Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful at 256-233-8728.

The committee is hoping that art students will volunteer to add murals to the culverts to add  some visual interest. There is still a need for a group or individuals who would be willing to oversee the community garden project beyond the groundbreaking of Dec. 7.

Vegetables and fruits will be grown at the garden and donated to Limestone County Churches Involved to be distributed to those in need.

Contact the KALB office at 256-233-8728 or send an email if you would like more information about this project, which was funded, in part, by a Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant.

Keep Bulloch Beautiful – Statesboro, GA

Keep Bulloch Beautiful (KBB), Statesboro Bulloch County Parks and Recreation After-School Program, Georgia Southern University’s Center for Sustainability, College of Science and Mathematics and College of Health & Human Sciences join forces to create community gardens at five elementary school sites in Bulloch County: Julia P. Bryant, Langston Chapel, Mattie Lively, Mill Creek and Sallie Zetterower Elementary Schools After-School Program. This unique collaboration will serve as a teaching tool for the After-School Program for all of these elementary schools.

The Community Garden project, funded through a Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant, will expose many of the students to gardening for the first time. Teddye Gandy, the community garden coordinator, said, “The After-School Garden Program is a great chance to visually see how produce is created. If you ask most kids where vegetables come from, their knee-jerk response will be from the ground. Outside of that they have no explanation as far as the process that takes place between planting and harvesting.”

The goals of the school garden project are to improve health and wellness of school children through the development of school gardens, and empower the children to promote sustainable practices and healthy behaviors through science and nutrition education. This program will address the needs of the community by providing an educational resource to the After School program and by creating volunteer opportunities for Georgia Southern University students. According to the Scientific Learning Corporation, 56% of the children in Bulloch County are from low-income families with little access to healthy food choices; some of these children will likely elect to participate in the program and bring food and knowledge home to their families. In addition, excess produce will be provided to the Backpack Buddies program for distribution to low-income families.

Community Garden Project – Funded by 2013 Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant

Located behind Brunswick Community College Annex Building in Southport, N.C., rests a run-down vacant property that will soon be transformed into a more welcoming community gathering place. Vacant land can often attract vandalism and the feeling of being unsafe, which is why Keep Brunswick County Beautiful is working to build a large-scale community garden. This renovated space will become a place for residents to share a common bond. The garden project that will take place in Brunswick County will be comprised of 30- 40 raised garden beds – some of which will be elevated three feet off the ground to be wheel-chair accessible.

Each of the garden beds will be rented out to community members to tend individually or in small groups. Future plans include the involvement of local residents, college students and nearby day-care center participants. This community garden will provide children and adults a place to grow and harvest vegetables that they would not normally be able to grow on their personal property.

One unique aspect of the garden is the “community bed” that will be located around the perimeter of the individual plots. This border will serve as an area for renters to place leftover plants; once harvested, the produce will be donated to local food banks.

Another characteristic of the garden will be a 2500-gallon tank that will capture rainwater runoff from a nearby building and redistribute the water to the garden. The Solid Waste Department will be using locally made compost to fill the garden beds prior to planting. Kimberly Thompson, executive director of Keep Brunswick County Beautiful, recently saw and tested the compost. She referred to it as “Black Gold” because it was so hearty.

Plans for the construction of this multi-faceted community garden are well underway and should be completed later this summer. Community members, students and teachers will soon have an area to call their own and bring them closer together.