The activity at Catawba Avenue and Potts Street in Davidson puts the “community” in community garden.Parishioners from Davidson United Methodist Church regularly tend the garden. Students from local schools visit frequently to learn about gardening and help with labor. And when vegetables are harvested, they’re sent to the food pantry at the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson to help feed the disadvantaged.“One reason we started the garden is because we wanted some kind of ongoing activity that would pull people from all areas of town,” garden organizer Connie Beach, 62, said. “I’ve gotten to know people that I would have never gotten to know in the garden.”Now the Davidson Community Garden is asking for the public’s help in raising enough money to install a water tap.Currently, gardeners are using water from a nearby house to tend the garden and are paying the water bill for the homeowner. Before that, they had to drag a hose from Davidson United Methodist Church, several hundred yards away and across railroad tracks, to reach the garden.“If we had our own water supply, it would help us out a lot,” Connie Beach said. Eddie Beach, Connie’s 67-year-old husband, said it will cost about $3,000 to tap into the main waterline on the street and install the necessary plumbing.He hopes to install a tap by March 1, which is when they’ll start watering the spring seedlings in the year-round garden. So far the group has raised $1,500 in donations, Connie Beach said. Once the group raises enough money, they’ll request a permit through the Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities Department to begin.For the communityFor years, an elderly man who lived next door informally tended to the garden. When he developed diabetes, Davidson United Methodist Church took over gardening responsibilities as an outreach ministry.The man died several weeks after the church formally assumed responsibility of the garden.Since the church became involved three years ago, the garden has reached scores of residents in the Lake Norman area.For instance, the garden has a partnership with Jail North in North Charlotte – inmates who are a part of the jail’s agriculture program raise the garden’s seedlings in their greenhouse before giving them to the garden to finish growing.“They’re in great shape when we pick them back up,” Connie Beach said. “It’s been a wonderful partnership.”Community School of Davidson students visit the garden at least once a month as part of an elective called Garden Keepers. The students learn gardening techniques and help tend the garden before going back to their school garden to apply what they’ve learned.“Now that I have seen a garden that failed and one that thrived, I know what we should do,” student Sarah Godkin wrote in a school blog. “We need to have the right tools, good soil, be weeded, people to maintain it, a compost pile and to water it. The reason that the Davidson Community garden thrived was because of all those things. Without people putting in many hours to help it wouldn’t have thrived.”Kathleen McMillan, student enrichment coordinator, said the time in the community garden drives home to students the school’s message of healthy eating, as well.“I think kids understand the whole farm-to-plate approach versus just going to the grocery store and buying food,” she said. “They see how they actually are getting their hands dirty to eat healthy.” Depending on the time of year, the garden may have lettuce, spinach, onions, peas, okra, zucchini, yellow squash and more. That food is later donated to the Loaves and Fishes food pantry at the Ada Jenkins Center. Three years ago, the garden donated 500 pounds of food. In 2012, it donated 2,002 pounds of food.
Friday, Feb. 08, 2013
On tap at the Davidson Community Garden
Food donated to Ada Jenkins Center
Connie and Eddie Beach regularly help tend to the Davidson Community Garden. COURTESY OF EDDIE BEACH
Will Webb, a Community School of Davidson student, helps tend to the Davidson Community Garden in fall 2012. COURTESY OF KATHLEEN MCMILLAN
Sarah Godkin and Emeline Helms, Community School of Davidson students, help tend the Davidson Community Garden in fall 2012.
Want to help? Donate to the Davidson Community Garden by making checks payable to DUMC, note “Community Garden” in the memo. Mail to Davidson United Methodist Church, PO Box 718, 233 South Main Street, Davidson NC 28036.