Weaver pair hope to plant community garden
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Oct 18, 2013 | 3429 views |  0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kathy Gaines, left, and Martha Vandervoort pick okra in the Interfaith Ministries community garden in Anniston recently. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Kathy Gaines, left, and Martha Vandervoort pick okra in the Interfaith Ministries community garden in Anniston recently. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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A Weaver councilwoman and resident hope a proposed community garden will help Weaver blossom into a healthy, vibrant city.

Linda Green, a 20-year resident of Weaver, brought up the suggestion at a recent City Council meeting, asking if the city would help her find land to get the project started in the spring.

“People can eat better and get out of the house,” Green said. “And they can also mix and mingle and get to know their neighbors.”

Green, who is working toward a degree in social work at Jacksonville State University, said she got the idea from seeing similar gardens started in Anniston and Hobson City.

“If other cities can do it, why not us?” Green said. “It’s something positive for the community. We are our brothers’ keepers.”

Green’s proposal to the Weaver City Council is similar to one Councilwoman Ellen Cole suggested a few years ago. At the time Cole said she hoped the Weaver Congregational Church on Alexandria Road might donate a spot for a community garden, but the space never materialized. Cole said finding available land with the right resources will be the biggest challenge to getting the garden growing in the spring.

Besides just finding a place where the garden can grow, Mayor Wayne Willis said he would be hesitant to sign off on such a project without community support.

“If people use it, I’m 100 percent for it, I think it’s a great idea,” Willis said. “But if no one is using it, it’s not worth it to use the land and run water to it, which uses up our resources.”

If a proposed Weaver garden takes off like similar gardens around Calhoun County, the mayor might not have to worry. David West, coordinator of the Calhoun County Extensions Office, said community gardens have become a hot commodity in recent years.

“I think it’s a growing trend because people want to know where their food is coming from,” West said. “A lot of folks now are a generation or two removed from farmers, but belts have tightened a little bit and a lot of people want to save some money growing their own food.”

West points to the community gardens the Extension Office set up at McClellan as an example as a success story. The handicapped-accessible gardens have become such a hit, there’s a waiting list for residents to adopt a box.

The Cane Creek garden inspired similar efforts in Anniston, including a garden started this summer by Interfaith Ministries. Interfaith’s director, Martha Vandervoort, said most of the vegetables grown with volunteer help are donated to the Soup Bowl in west Anniston.

Hobson City Mayor Alberta McCrory said the community garden planted next to her Town Hall has become an educational tool for residents who want to learn to garden, as well as a source of food for some folks in town.

“Economically, it’s helped out a lot of people,” McCrory said. “It’s been very beneficial.”

Cole said if a garden in Weaver is a success, she thinks it can be a money-maker for the city as well.

“I’d really like to have a farmer’s market in Weaver,” Cole said. “I think having one in the park would be so nice for the city.”

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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