Thriving in North Carolina
Extension Specialist, Urban Horticulture
NC State University
• American Community Gardening Association Training
• Funding to every county in the state
• NC Community Garden Partnership – 501(c)(3)
• NC CGP Web presence
• Interactive website
• Facebook page
• Directory of Gardens
• Training other States
Briggs Community Garden
Building community network sharing knowledge & support
Developing diverse leadership
Increasing civic engagement
Helping folks from historically excluded populations realize
that they are the change agents they have been waiting for.
Dig In! Yancey Community Garden
“No Yancey County resident should go hungry.”
Our greatest success is that we exist at all.
• 4 growing seasons old
• Growing 3,000 pounds of organic vegetables annually
• All donated to feeding county residents
Dr. John Wilson Community Garden
• Permanent part-time Garden Manager position on staff
with the town of Black Mountain
• Installed 100 fruit and nut trees
• Installed native and medicinal plant trail
• Established a mushroom forest
• Created fundraising events and sponsorships
• empty bowls, and grow the garden
• Maintain a successful school garden despite budget cuts
Fairfield Plantation Community Garden
Improving the soil
Creating 48 5’X20’ plots
Girl Scout built two benches on the side of the garden
Getting to know neighbors
Collaborating with neighborhood grounds committee to
recycle split rails and timbers from improvement projects
in the neighborhood
• Non-gardening neighbors donating old timbers, tools and
Greene County Cooperative Extension
• Brought together 20 total strangers and formed a
healthy, friendly, caring, sharing family
• Provided 1,246 pounds (and counting) of produce to the
Interfaith Food Bank our 1st year
• Brought together community, received tremendous
support from the community
Guilford County Cooperative Extension
• Converted school garden into community garden
• Got the whole community behind this wonderful
concept of raising fresh produce and educating
our children in the process
Liberty Community Garden
Gardeners resettled refugees from Bhutan
Shared harvest with Food Shuttle
Volunteers, Members, Donations
Completed 3 seasons
Little Sugar Creek Community Garden
• County Government
• Parks and Recreation Day Camps
• Social Services
• Correctional Facilities
• Public and Private Schools
• Muscadine Grapes
The Lord’s Acre’
Share the Harvest market
Adopted Core Beliefs upon which to base decisions
Gave away 9.5 tons of Organic Produce
SPROUTS program for kids
Mt. Vernon Community Garden
2011 - Started by transporting water from home
Installed a water pump and irrigation to raised beds
• 532 sq. ft. center; 2 covered shelters / outside classrooms
• “Math, Agriculture Science, Options, and Opportunities”
afternoon/summer program with High School and
• Dedication service
• attended by 40 people from church and community
• Low country boil, and gift bags, all items donated
by local farmers and businesses.
• 25 fruit trees donated
• Incorporated in 1994
• Growth of Gardeners and Staff
• Live sustainably, share, increased knowledge
• Human Issues
Keeping people motivated during the hot summer month
Maintaining well established leadership teams
Finding academic leaders with vision & knowledge to make those visions come true
Understanding how structural oppression effects low income populations as it relates
to food systems & how to overcome these structures.
• Physical Issues
Huge area to maintain
Being an organic community garden.
• Bigger equipment
• Walk-in cooler
• Getting people to take responsibility
Organic pest & disease control products & soil amendments
Words of Wisdom
Not everyone needs a community garden
We need to be careful about wanting something for others.
This is not a case of build it and they will come.
We need to provide lots of education so they can come to their own decisions
Build your team before the first things are planted.
Words of Wisdom
• Build your soil and core values before anything else. Even if it
takes a year. Base decisions on beliefs, for example:
• Bringing people together, giving them agency, inspiration and support.
• There are many types of hunger. Everyone is hungry for something. Everyone
has something to give.
• Goal is to “put ourselves out of work” by teaching skills
• Start Small (so small you can't help but succeed), but start
with a big vision.
Move forward with patience and perseverance.
If your garden isn't thriving, look to your community to find out why.
– Perhaps your model isn't applicable-each garden should be a reflection
of that community's interests and strengths, or
– Perhaps you haven't capitalized on your community's assets.
Words of Wisdom
About the Garden:
Curb appeal matters
Build benches near the plots
Build 2 to 3 smaller compost piles rather than one large one.
Invest labor in composting and using mulch to build 18-24”
high mounds during winter on your plots for weed control and
• Use the “lasagna method” of soil building to make gardening
till free and weed removal much easier. (dumpster dive for
Words of Wisdom
About Your Attitude:
Enjoy what you do! Gardening is great fun and rewarding!
Patience, Passion and Determination
Do not become discouraged, it gets easier
"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or
rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." --Abraham Lincoln
• Water, Sun, Soil, Seeds or Harvest Yield: In gardening, nothing is
promised, it is always a gift, and we should be thankful that we are
privileged to participate in the cycle of nature.
NC A & T Community Gardening Curriculum
NC Extension Master Gardener Manual –
• New Chapter on Community Gardening