The Swannanoa Community Garden, sponsored by Friends and Neighbors of Swannanoa (FANS), and located on Clover Lane off Lake Eden Road (map), produced more than 800 pounds of produce last year for local food banks. The garden beds have been winterized with a blanket of compost and yellow clover, and the garden managers and volunteers are gearing up for an even bigger harvest during the next growing season.
Although the physical labor of gardening has lessened over the winter months, the important chores of grant writing, networking and researching continue. This hard work was recently rewarded with a generous grant of $750 from Buncombe County Parks and Recreation. Bountiful Cities, a non-profit group that helps community gardeners, gifted the garden with $150. Additionally, The Learning Community School, based at Camp Rockmont, held a fundraiser that raised nearly $200 for the garden. These grants and donations will help sustain and grow the garden in the coming year by facilitating the purchase of enriched soil, seeds and plastic for the reconstructed hoop house.
Volunteers continue to be a major source of hands-on support for the garden. Students from Mr. Bo Mallory’s freshman science class at Owen High School, and fourth, fifth and sixth-graders from The Learning Community School helped this past fall with ongoing garden chores, including spreading soil, mulching, composting and creating new beds. These two schools will also plant and maintain their own beds in the spring, and help prepare starts for the garden in March and April. A group of Owen High students are discussing the possibility of starting a garden club that will provide volunteers for the Swannanoa Community Garden.
Jeff Dektor, a garden volunteer, has put countless hours into reconstructing a 10′ by 20′ hoop house that was donated to the garden last year. Due to high winds, the hoop house was crushed and bent so badly that the conduit structure was only good for recycling. But Jeff was determined to save the structure, and after many hours of hard work, was able to unbend, reinforce and reconstruct the hoop house to its original size. He’s made it so strong and windproof that it will last for years. Thank you, Jeff!
If you’d like to volunteer or make a donation to the Swannanoa Community Garden, please contact Sandy Drake at email@example.com.