Local community gardens provide healthy options for residents

Along with spring comes the resurgence of the community gardens in the local community. According to a story by Tori Bailey in the latest issue of Walton Living Magazine on this concept and the opportunities to be involved, there is one that is “ripe for the picking in Monroe. It is the Pilot Park Community Garden located adjacent to Pilot Park on S. Church Street.”

This one is seeking community involvement to help get it off the ground.

“We have the foundation in place to help a board move forward on creating by-laws and the vision for the garden. There are plenty of resources available to assist such as our office and the City of Monroe.  The key piece that is missing to make this project a success is community involvement,” Joel Burnsed, director of the Walton County Extension Office told Walton Living Magazine. “The citizens would be able to decide the vision for the community garden.”

The space designated for the garden area would accommodate raised bed and some beds would be reserved for educational purposes.

Walton County already has had a successful community garden for the last eight years that has provided a unique opportunity to feed the community along with the souls of those tending it. Field Garden, at the Walton County Detention Center, is a large garden that has volunteers partnering with inmates to provide fresh produce to families in need through Faith In Serving Humanity. DeDe Harris, founder and the Executor Director of Walton Wellness Inc. initially raised the idea with Sherriff Joe Chapman and Jail Commander Wade Harris and before long the Field Garden was on its way to fruition. She said that after that first plant day, many volunteers walked away with a new understanding of those from the inside who had worked side by side with them in the gardens.

“There is just something about working beside someone on your knees with your hands in the same dirt. Dirt is the ultimate equalizer of us all,” she said. 

The Field Garden continues to help families in need and produce from the garden is donated to the F.I.S.H. Farmers Market. It also helps inmates as they receive “two for one” credit for each day they volunteer in the garden. And along with that, it helps restore “self-worth, accomplishment, pride and belonging in their community because they are giving back.”

For Tori Bailey’s full story in Walton Living Magazine, click or tap on this link, or pick up a copy at one of Walton County’s city halls, the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, Monroe Museum or one of the many businesses around the county that have extra copies available.

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