There’s nothing like seeing plants start to grow out of ground that was frozen just a few weeks ago (really frozen this year). I love gardening, though I am not very good at it. To get some experience (and keep those plants alive), I’ve been gardening in community gardens in Charlotte since I moved here in 2010. I’ve weeded, harvested, planted, painted, scraped rust, turned compost, shoveled mulch, and any number of other activities - without being the only person responsible for the plants. The plants thank me for not killing them.
Gardening is good for the health of people and the planet -- working in the garden provides numerous health benefits for gardeners and can provide a very local alternative to the food we can buy in the stores, which has often been shipped a long way or exposed to chemicals. In some cases, gardening can also connect us to our communities, as we work with our neighbors or grow food for them through the connections to Charlotte’s meals on wheels program, Friendship Trays.
If you’ve also caught the gardening bug, or just want a chance to try it out, there are several opportunities in the NoDa area where you can volunteer. Some of these gardens are Friendship Gardens (a network of 65 gardens in the Charlotte area that provides produce for Friendship Trays), but there are other gardens looking for volunteer help, too.
So put on some old clothes and closed-toe shoes, bring some water, and enjoy working outdoors for a few hours. At the very least, you’ll get some fresh air.
Nearby Community Gardens and Details:
Empowerment Project: (Johnston Memorial Presbyterian Church at 729 E. 36th St.) The Empowerment Project is developing an urban community garden initiative on a lot of land generously donated by Johnston Memorial Presbyterian Church. This garden will be a meditative and educational place and will teach community members about organic, sustainable and healthy living featuring permaculture principles to build community. The Empowerment Project meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 in the church annex. Volunteers are welcome and needed for a series of summer and fall workshops, as well as garden grooming. Contact Sunya Folayan at 704-900-1703 for more information.
Friendship Gardens Urban Farm: (2586 Elkwood Circle) Join this urban farm on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month (March - October), 10am-noon, to help grow food for Friendship Trays, Charlotte's meals on wheels program. No RSVP needed, just show up ready to plant, harvest, water, weed, whatever work is needed ... and to enjoy the farm. All are welcome. Bring gloves and a water bottle. The farm is located at Garinger High School.
The Seigle Farm. (600 Seigle Ave. at 10th St.) Seigle Farm is a ministry of Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church. This is our third year of planting as we received a grant to clear the brush on unused land at the church and build 23 raised beds. The last 2 summers we sold our crops to The Harvest Moon Grille and distributed free veggies out to the community after church. This year, we will be opening a small farm stand at the corner of 10th and Seigle and our plan is to provide very cheap fresh veggies to neighbors and anyone who visits our farm stand. Farm Stand hours will be Saturday mornings when we start to harvest crops and WednesdaVolunteer hours from May through October are Saturdays 9am-noon and Wednesdays 6-7:30pm. Contact Martine Wurst, 704-661-1848 or
, for more information.