By Rebecca Alexander
This summer, Bountiful Cities and FEAST Asheville partnered together for the Community Garden Support Project with funding from Mission Health’s 2017 Community Investment grants program. The Community Garden Support Project focuses on improving and maintaining three local schools’ gardens: Hall Fletcher Elementary, Francine Delaney New School for Children and Vance Elementary.
Through FEAST, students are able to work hands on in their school’s garden and learn how to grow and maintain the plants.
Fourth grader, Andariel said, “Because of FEAST, I am a smarter, healthier person and a better gardener. I have a better understanding of the plants around me and how they work. I also have a better understanding of where my food comes from.”
“Because of FEAST, I eat healthier and have a better life,” said Aiden, a second grader at Vance Elementary.
During the summer, maintaining the gardens becomes a challenge since students are out of school. With grants from Mission Health, Bountiful Cities’ landscaping company Grass to Greens provides support for summer maintenance of the gardens.
“We were able to host ‘Weed and Feed’ events at both Vance and Hall Fletcher this summer because we had the extra support from the AmeriCorps members, and we had a lot more produce in the gardens this summer as a result of Grass [to] Greens work. We had anywhere from 4-15 community members and families from each of the schools attend the open garden hours each week come work and take home fresh produce!” said Kate Justen, Executive Director of FEAST.
By the time back to school rolled around, the gardens were ready and waiting for the students return.