Pictured: Elliotborough Garden (Credit: Leslie McKellar)
The Charleston Parks Conservancy has received a total of $25,000 in grant funds for the creation of a community garden at Corrine Jones Park, 36 Marlow Drive in Charleston.
Through a partnership with Keep Charleston Beautiful, the Conservancy was awarded a $20,000 grant as part of the 2018 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program, the nonprofit Conservancy will build a fourth community garden. The Conservancy also received a $5,000 grant from Publix Supermarket Charities for the Community Garden Program. The Conservancy plans to raise an additional $50,000 in private funds to complete the project. The community is invited to make a donation at www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.
Located in the northern area of the Charleston peninsula, Corrine Jones Park was one of the Conservancy’s earliest renovation projects. Working with members of the Wagener Terrace neighborhood, the Conservancy raised the money to add a large new playground to the park in 2011 as well as flower beds and plantings that have greatly enhanced this neighborhood park.
Work in the new community garden will begin this fall as volunteers help build raised planting beds for the garden. After construction of the garden areas this fall and winter, the Conservancy will begin leasing the 60 plots that will be available for community members to raise personal crops of vegetables and ornamentals. Before planting begins, a beginner gardener class will guide new gardeners on how to plan for their first planting and to start their own seeds.
In addition, the garden includes community beds for educational instruction and horticultural demonstrations. Produce from those community beds will be donated to local food pantries. Each year, the Conservancy’s community gardens donate more than a ton of produce to area food pantries. To date, the Conservancy has donated a total of 8,752 pounds of produce. Demonstration crops such as miniature vegetable varietals, heat and cold tolerant crops, and Carolina Gold Rice have educated gardeners on the growing and processing of plants that shaped South Carolina’s history and economy, as well as edible plants that can be grown easily in an urban environment.
The first steps of constructing the garden will begin this fall including several community demonstration beds. These community beds will be important for hands-on learning during the beginner gardener class offered to the community and will be where the first pounds of donated produce will be grown by community volunteers. Individual gardening plots will be available in the late winter or in spring 2019. Those interested in learning more about an introduction class, becoming a gardener or volunteering can email [email protected]charlestonparksconservancy.org.
The Conservancy currently operates three other community gardens at Magnolia Park in West Ashley, Medway Park on James Island and Elliotborough Park just off the Crosstown. All three gardens serve as community gathering places while giving individuals and families the opportunity to grow their own vegetables.
Community garden coordinator Leslie Wade and other Conservancy staff horticulturists provide gardeners with education and instruction on best practices for planting and maintaining their beds. Also, gardening classes are offered periodically to the general public. The Conservancy also hosts community events in these parks and gardens, including free family movie nights.
“In keeping with the Conservancy’s mission, the community garden program is another avenue to create stunning public spaces and allow people to enjoy nature by connecting with their parks and each other,” said Executive Director Harry Lesesne. “The program fosters community relationships and engages citizens in recreational, social and civic involvement in our parks. We offer a community service unmatched in Charleston by allowing all residents the opportunity to garden and have access to fresh, organically grown and sustainable produce in a beautiful shared public space.”
The 2018 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program engages local volunteers, working alongside Lowe’s Heroes volunteers, to take action on projects that focus on critical, local needs.
This is the second year of funding for the Conservancy’s Community Garden Program from Publix Super Markets Charities. Their first year of support allowed the Conservancy to work with Clemson Architecture Center on the design and installation of a new garden pavilion at Medway Community Garden. Publix Super Markets Charities serves the communities surrounding Publix’s stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
About the Charleston Parks Conservancy
The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public places and a strong community. The Conservancy opens doors to individuals and organizations in Charleston wanting to engage with their parks and green spaces in a kaleidoscope of positive ways. With the help of its Park Angels, the Conservancy improves, enhances, and invigorates these spaces, making Charleston even better, stronger, and more successful. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.