Henderson County Bountiful Harvest Community Garden 2020
The Bountiful Harvest Community Garden
The Bountiful Harvest Community Garden was started 11 years ago by a group of Master Gardener℠ volunteers from the N.C. Cooperative Extension in Henderson County office. These gardeners saw a need for a local community garden. The Henderson County Department of Parks and Recreation generously donated a plot of land in Jackson Park, just behind the Mountain Community School. Currently, the garden has 35 plots including one bed dedicated to food donations to area non-profits who work with those in need.
The gardeners come from varied backgrounds and economic levels. Some gardeners who are seeing food grown for the first time including three 4-H sponsored Big/ Little Sister pairs and a group of homeschoolers. There are those who are reconnecting with growing food from when they were children on the farm.
Gardening is one of the best physical fitness activities we can participate in. Some gardeners’ only time spent outdoors is when they are tending their garden. Others are finding solace while fighting health challenges.
Learning is a big part of the mission of the garden. One gardener never knew how sunflowers produced seeds until this year and saw it first hand in one of the beds. Another gardener brings her grandchildren weekly to help weed, water, and harvest. Her 6-year-old grandson “thinks gardening is fun but had no idea how much work went into making it all happen.”
Locally produced fresh produce is good for the community. Two community gardeners oversee the donation plot in addition to their own. They make sure that the vegetables get delivered to local charities, sometimes multiple times a week during peak growing season.
2020 has been an expansion year for the garden. With the help of a Community Foundation grant, the beds were raised to make them more accessible. In the future, we hope to build additional beds in order to accommodate the constant waitlist. Another goal is to also build cold frames in order to start growing from seeds in the early spring.
The Bountiful Harvest Community Garden is a place where community members who might not have land can obtain space to garden. It is also a place of fellowship and learning. Master Gardener℠ volunteers in Henderson County manage the garden and provide education to the garden members. During this pandemic, so many garden users say it has been a mental health boost to be able to be outside and productive during these times of limitations.