Community Gardens of Henry County
WHO ARE WE?
Community Gardens of Henry, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2003 whose mission is to promote the well-being of the community by providing gardening opportunities and a healthy food source for Henry residents of all ages. We started our program after hearing a presentation on community gardening by a food bank representative at the University of Georgia campus in Griffin, Georgia. Our first initiative was at Heritage Park when we partnered with our Henry County Commissioners to build the very first community garden in our county.
WHAT DO WE OFFER?
A robust community gardening program is available for Henry County residents which includes gardening instruction, field trips and garden events. Community Gardens is offering this wholesome outdoor program to our county residents especially as we continue to cope with the effects of Covid and rising inflation which increases the cost of fresh, wholesome food for our tables. We operate a community garden at The Wesley Way United Methodist Church with twenty-nine plots where gardeners grow their own fresh vegetables.
In addition to our community garden program, we also have plant-a-row gardens where we grow vegetables for donation to food banks, and other charitable organizations in Henry County. These gardens are operated by our nonprofit and its volunteer partners. This year we grew, harvested and donated more than 3,500 lbs. of produce from our plant-a-row operation at Wesley Way United Methodist Church. We have donated more than 115,000 lbs. of fresh vegetables since our beginning. Another plant-a-row will start up this Spring at the Henry County Water Authority’s Cubihatcha Outdoor Recreation Center in Locust Grove. A start up grant program was introduced in 2021 to encourage new garden development in our county.
To serve the residents of Henry County, Georgia by:
1) promoting community through gardening, 2) providing educational opportunities for gardeners of all ages, 3) providing a food source for community gardeners and to citizens in need, 4) preserving gardening skills for future generations, and 5) being good green space and environmental stewards.
HISTORY & OVERVIEW
Community Gardens of Henry County began in 2003 as a grassroots organization whose original sole objective was to design and build Henry County’s first community garden. This early initiative was led by a steering committee comprised of Master Gardeners. With the assistance of the Heritage Senior Center Director, permission was granted by the County Commissioners and the Heritage Village Community Garden planted its first garden in the spring of 2004.
In 2004, the organization was also incorporated with the State of Georgia and obtained non- profit status. The organization partnered with various organizations to provide gardening opportunities for residents of Henry County. Currently, our Wesley Way Community Garden offers individual gardening plots and is operated as an outreach program with Wesley Way United Methodist Church as a partner. This community garden has 28 gardening plots and offers spring and fall gardening.
There is also a plant-a-row garden at Wesley Way featuring 20,000 sq. ft. where fresh vegetables are grown and donated to help feed the needy among us. Since its inception more than 135,000 lbs of fresh produce has been grown and donated in our community.
We have recently expanded our donation capacity with the addition of a new plant-a-row garden at the McDonough Farm Bureau in 2022 and the revitalization of another plant-a-row at the Cubihatcha Outdoor center in Locust Grove. The Farm Bureau’s commitment to the Henry County community is greatly appreciated. Thru their network of farmers we have been able to connect us to local farmers who advise us on planting and harvesting our crops. These additions will serve to greatly expand our capacity to 20,000 sq ft. to grow and donate fresh produce for residents in Henry County, Georgia.
We are pleased to report that our 2023 donations to date total approximtely1,464 lbs of fresh produce to the community. We expect our corn harvest will yield another 900 lbs, bringing our total summer Phase I donations to more than 2,000 lbs. Our expectation is that the Phase II summer donations of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, okra and bell peppers will significantly increase our donations to the community as will the Phase III crop of cabbage and collards in the fall. Not only do our gardens enhance the quality of life for our gardeners and volunteers, it also serves to build a thriving community when we all work together not to mention the beauty of the gardens which everyone enjoys. It is such a pleasure to have visitors of all ages come to enjoy the beauty of a growing vegetable garden!
We believe that failure to provide and encourage gardening opportunities will ultimately lead to a significant lack of individuals with gardening skills, if that is not already the case. Gardening promotes social interaction, health through exercise, and if successfully done, a sense of accomplishment. It also results in high quality use of our land and environment, all the while being aesthetic and appealing to those who visit. We also believe it is our responsibility to assist the less fortunate through donations of food and opportunities to grow vegetables cheaper than they can be purchased. Most importantly, all residents of Henry County should receive benefit from the gardens, not just those in certain areas of the county.
A place where good things grow is a welcome mat for visitors, volunteers and gardeners to join us in providing sustainable gardens where nutritious food is grown for all to thrive, enjoy and promote community through gardening.
WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER?
The cost of becoming a member of the non-profit is a one-time $25.00 membership fee. Gardening plots are $25.00 per plot annually and are available on a “first come first serve basis”.