Carver Peace Gardens accepting applications

You may already know that I started a community garden in Johnson City five years ago. The Carver Peace Gardens, as they are named, are located at 322 W Watauga Ave, on the Carver Recreation Center’s parkland. I was just naive enough at the time to think that this would be pretty easy to do. Had I known then, what I know now, I’m not so sure I would’ve taken a project of this magnitude on.  Tennessee Master Gardeners must contribute 25 hours a year to maintain their certification, and I was frustrated that the long list of approved projects that were available to graduates of the program didn’t include any vegetable gardens. We Master Gardeners must log all our service hours each year and submit them to the state. Last year I topped over 100 hours working solely on this garden. But it’s work that I love. Mostly. Because it is on city property there are sometimes frustrating delays and rules.  Because I am dealing with the public in general, there are various personalities to be dealt with, as well as issues of trust, time and money constraints, theft and vandalism, peacemaking, communication, planning, fund raising and last but not least, GARDENING issues! But here’s the thing: 5 years in, I’m finally beginning to feel that I am part of a lasting community. I’m experiencing the power of many and that keeps me going when the going gets tough.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 10th) there’s a meeting between this year’s new crop of gardeners and the newly formed (thank God!) steering committee. I know I’m a bit late with this information but I thought I had an equal number of available plots and applicants, but it turns out there is still one plot available. If you know anyone that wants to have a 15’x20′ plot in the Peace Gardens this year, please tell them to try to attend this very important meeting at 6:30 PM. We’ll be in the library located just inside the front doors of the Carver Rec Center. It shouldn’t take over an hour, we’ll have extra applications on hand, and if accepted, there will be a $15 plot rental fee-cash or check. Tools, water  and gardening classes are provided, sometimes we have plants and seeds to offer too. But as important as the food is, and trust me, I KNOW how important that is, the environment that exists there amongst the gardeners offers as much nourishment as the actual soil does! There’s sharing and caring that goes on daily. In no time at you will know everyone’s name, their kids’ names and that of their dogs too. You’ll be able to share produce and recipes, tips and ideas, all while making a huge step in providing healthier food for your table.  At the same time you’ll be able to lower your food bills, your carbon footprint and your blood pressure. Community gardening is the best way I know of to improve your family’s and our community’s resilience in these uncertain times. Learning to grow food is a ‘life skill’ if there ever was one! Care to join us?


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