Community Garden reaps first crop; group donates collards to orphanage
By Gabriel Jones. Emory University
April 13, 2004
A local vegetable garden created by Emory students is beginning to show the rewards of its volunteers' work. The first crop, much of which died in the winter, was recently donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
The Community Garden, a project spearheaded by College senior Lexi Gross, was harvested for the first time in March and recently received additional funding from a national volunteer organization. The garden is located near the Hardman Cemetery next to the Clairmont Campus.
College senior Emily Cantrell, Volunteer Emory co-chair and a garden volunteer, said the harvest helped some of Atlanta's less-fortunate citizens.
"A lot of the vegetables that we planted didn't make it through the winter," Cantrell said. "But we were able to donate five bags full of collards to a local children's orphanage."
Cantrell said the garden will soon produce its first harvest of garlic and peppers.
The Community Garden, which was initially funded by a $200 Social Entrepreneurship Grant through Volunteer Emory, recently received additional funding from Youth Venture, a non-profit organization.
Members of the Community Garden successfully applied for the $1,000 grant, which targets civic-minded teenagers by providing resources for promoting change and progress in communities, Cantrell said. She said the funding could be used to improve the garden, with a sprinkler system, more crops and fencing around the individual plots.
Volunteers have been working since early November at the Community Garden.
The garden is part of the Food Bank's "Plant a Row for the Hungry" program, which has received more than 2,000 pounds of donated vegetable, since it began seven years ago.
Organizers for the Community Garden have faced difficulties in expanding the garden because certain stipulations prohibit the use of cemetery land. The group has to gain permission from organizations like the President's Cabinet, the Committee on the Environment, Facilities Management and the DeKalb Historical Society.
"They're not refusing [our efforts]," Gross said. "They're just making it hard for us."
Cantrell praised the efforts of Gross and College sophomore Eric Fyfe for their work in cultivating and maintaining the garden.
"Lexi has done some work with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and came to me with the idea," she said. "But neither of us knows much about gardening. ...Eric has done some gardening before and he's really helped because most of us didn't know what to do."
Cantrell said anyone could volunteer at the garden, and encouraged people to contact her.
"We would love to have people that actually know something about gardening and come out and help us," Cantrell said. "It's a really great cause."