Thursday, September 8, 2011

Peachtree Hills Garden

Neighborhood gardens are catching on everywhere. What amazing sights to see around town - old vacant lots turned into a colorful garden full or flowers and vegetables. And the great thing is most gardens donate their surplus to local food banks. We looked around last week and found one in our own backyard. We asked Kathleen Moriarty who runs the Peachtree Hills Community Garden a few questions.

1. When was the garden started? 2008
2. How did the idea originate? A couple of Peachtree Hills residents were looking for a place to grow veggies and working with Park Pride approached the City for permission to use the land at the park. Park Pride is a non-profit that works with, and advocates for, city parks. They have a community garden program. The Atlanta Community Food Bank also helped get the garden started through their community garden program.
3. Who volunteers? Volunteers are pretty much just the gardeners and their families.
4. How many members/volunteers do you have? We have 24 gardeners, plus a waiting list
5. Has the economy affected the amount of members? I don't know the answer to that. I think most gardeners participate for the "fun", because they love gardening and for quality fresh veggies. Saving money is a bonus.
6. How do you decide what foods and flowers to plant? Both seasonal and favorites. Each gardener plants whatever they want in their plot.
7. What kinds of foods and flowers do you have right now? Summer veggies - tomatoes, beans, peppers, squash, okra, eggplant, cucumbers, melons. Sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, bee balm, and herbs.
8. Do you plant from seeds or small plants? Both. Park Pride rules require that all gardens be organic or "natural" - no chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
9. Who do you feed or where do you sell? Each gardener owns the harvests from their garden plot. Under the City and Park Pride rules, nothing can be sold.
10. Do you have an overstock of food that you give to a charity? We have a Plant a Row for the Hungry program through The Atlanta Community Food Bank. Two plots are dedicated to the Plant a Row program and gardeners also contribute from their plots. We deliver to the Buckhead Christian Ministry (BCM) once or twice a week depending upon the amount of veggies available. The veggies are put out in their lobby where their clients who come for food, rental or other assistance can help themselves. (Last year we delivered directly to the Food Bank - 160 lbs.) We've made three deliveries to the BCM so far this year for a total of 68 lbs.