Spring has sprung, and the Swannanoa Community Garden is springing into action, too. Volunteers are at work completing winter cleanup and clearing beds for planting, in preparation for another busy growing season. Colleges, schools and camps have provided hundreds of hours of volunteer support to the Swannanoa Community Garden over the past few years, and these partnerships will continue in 2017. Our garden managers are currently exploring new ways to engage with individual students, classes and clubs at Owen High School, which is located within walking distance of the garden.
The garden is experimenting this year with some early and late season crops, such as turnips and collards, to supplement the summer staples. A group of older children who volunteer in the garden are planning a “soup garden” that will join the “pizza garden” already maintained by the younger kids. Produce from these two gardens will be used later in the season to make soup and pizza, giving the kids an opportunity to see first hand where food comes from, and how it makes its way to their dinner table.
Last year, a group of volunteers, led by Jeff Dektor, completed work on a hoop house to extend the Community Garden’s growing season. This year’s major project will involve construction of a 16′ x 22′ garden pavilion that will provide shelter for volunteers, an outdoor classroom for Owen High and other schools, and a community gathering space for programs and events. Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, that will fund the purchase of materials for the pavilion. Our volunteer construction crew will begin work soon!
The Swannanoa Community Garden is a “giving garden;” almost all produce grown in the garden is donated to organizations serving our neighbors in need. Volunteers are the backbone of the garden, and more help is always needed. If you’d like to lend a hand or make a donation, please contact garden manager Sandy Drake at 828-581-9020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Swannanoa Community Garden is sponsored by FANS and is located on Clover Lane, off Lake Eden Road.