Idea Takes Root
At Babb Homestead,
Thanks To Church,
BY O.J. EARLY
When spring arrives, visitors to downtown will be seeing something new.
A garden -- perhaps the only community and heritage garden in the state -- will be planted in Fox Park, near the intersection of College and McKee streets, in close proximity to the historic Babb Homestead.
The garden is a result of a coalition between Christ United Methodist Church, the Big Spring Master Gardener Association and The Nathanael Greene Museum.
The garden will serve a dual purpose:
* For the part of the church and garden club, food will be grown for those in need.
* For the museum, the garden will serve as an educational tool in conjunction with the Babb Homestead.
HOW IDEA TOOK OFF
"Some of us at Christ United have been talking for several years about doing a community garden because it does a number of things," said the Rev. Ginger Isom, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church.
"Our intent was to be able to provide food, healthy food and vegetables, for families that might not be able to afford it. Fresh produce is expensive, and not everybody has access to that."
Word began to spread, Isom said, that her church was interested in starting a community garden. As a result, members of the Big Spring Master Gardener Association approached Isom about forming a community garden.
A big question, however, still remained: Where would the community garden be planted?
"We knew that Earl (Fletcher) was going to put in a heritage garden here at the Babb Homestead," Isom said.
So Isom and others asked Fletcher if the garden could be planted in Fox Park, functioning also as an educational sidebar to the Babb Homestead.
Fletcher agreed, and a partnership was formed.
"It provides something for the community," said Fletcher, executive director of the museum, in an interview on Monday. "It's educational. There are a lot of win-wins."
Fletcher told both members of the Garden Club and Christ United Methodist that for the garden, only vegetables from the late 1700s and early 1800s could be planted.
Isom hopes to involve more area churches as the garden plan moves forward.
HOW IT WILL WORK
Once the garden is harvesting on a regular basis, families that would be interested in getting vegetables must contact Christ United Methodist.
One regulation is that those who partake in the garden's harvest will also have to work in the garden, doing things like weeding and picking crops, Isom said.
According to Heather Youngblood, with the Big Spring Master Gardener Association, planting will be taking place in succession, with various types of vegetables continuously planted and harvested.
The eventual goal is to be able to feed 20 to 30 families per week, she said.
The garden will be in a 40-by-80 foot plot.
In addition, leftover produce will be taken to the Greene County Food Bank.
In a related matter, the public is invited to a Wood-Chipping Party from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 5, in Fox Park.
Those who attend are asked to bring their Christmas tree, stripped of all ornaments and lights.
The purpose of the event is to get mulch from the wood-chipping to spread between garden beds and place in walkways.
An official dedication of the garden is planned, but no date has been set.