LUMPKIN, Ga. (WRBL) – A community garden has made its way to Lumpkin, to provide fresh produce to those in the community.
The Lumpkin Community Center received a five-year grant from Healthier Together to start a community garden. The grant also works towards fighting obesity and allowing access to fresh produce within the community. County Extension Coordinator Christiana Gardner told News 3 the City of Lumpkin is in desperate need of fresh produce.
“So this garden will be open for everyone in the community to come, there’s actually one in Richland as well. The idea is that since we are a food desert were trying to bring more produce to the community but it’s free to the community members. They can come out and harvest as soon as vegetables are ready,” Gardner said.
Those in the community struggle to find fresh produce and food within the city of Lumpkin and within Stewart County. They must shop at Dollar General to get the few grocery items that they need, or they must travel 15-45 minutes out to town to the nearest grocery store located in Richland or Columbus. Gardner hopes the garden will have a huge impact on those in the community
“We hope that it makes them feel encouraged to eat healthier produce, we’ve already seen people just come together and enjoy coming to the garden and harvesting together. As well as letting them know that we realize there’s an issue here, we realize that they’ve got to drive at least 15 minutes to Richland to get produce or they’ve got to go all the way to Columbus, Albany, or somewhere further away,” Gardener said.
Gardner hopes the garden can influence the start of an actual grocery store in the small town.
“I hope so, we hope this will be the start of an initiative so this will at least be the start of a satellite food source or something that just recognizes the need that there’s not a lot of produce over here or grocery store in general. We have a Dollar General but that’s about it,” Gardner said.
Gardner told News 3 it’s a huge hindrance not having a grocery store in the town you live in.
“Thats a big frustration, that we hear a lot of the time and that’s part of my job. Nutritional education so it’s really hard to push healthier food products, to push fresh produce and those types of things when people tell me they’ve got to drive 45 minutes to get those groceries, so it is something we hear quite often,” Gardner said.
Healthier food for the community such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Romaine Lettuce, Spring Lettuce and other vegetables will be available this fall.
“Im looking around here, we have a couple of bell pepper plants planted that will hopefully produce over the next couple of months. Cabbage, Cauliflower, honestly the list is endless we will plant anything that the community desires as long as its something that will grow,” Gardner said.
People in the community are also welcome to grow their own produce items in the garden.
“In the near future we plan on allowing families to adopt a box, so they can always come to for fresh produce. Honestly, the opportunity are endless as far as where this garden can go,” Gardener said.
The garden is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., and those in the community are also welcome to come by the garden on Saturday and Sunday as well to harvest vegetables.