NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – The New Hanover County Arboretum and Cooperative Extension’s Ability Garden is working with residents in the Creekwood community to establish community gardens with funding recently awarded from the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) and American Public Gardens Association (APGA) as part of the Urban Agriculture Resilience Program. The award of nearly $20,000 will help with the creation of residential pocket gardens that will increase education and capacity in urban food growing.
The Ability Garden, which provides therapeutic horticulture activities to traditionally underserved populations, is working with Wilmington Housing Authority and Creekwood residents, as well as NC Cooperative Extension staff and trained Master Gardeners to develop residential pocket gardens that will provide learning opportunities, produce vegetables and fruits with sustainable methods and establish strong bonds. Starting in July, planning will begin for future weekly gardening activities and workshops, and focus groups will be held to decide where and how to build out garden beds throughout Creekwood for fall planting.
“We have an incredible opportunity here to help build resilience and sustainability, as well as address food security alongside residents and community members,” said New Hanover County Arboretum and Cooperative Extension Director Lloyd Singleton. “This program will grow food in Creekwood, with Creekwood, for Creekwood. As one of only 21 award recipients nationwide and the only one in North Carolina, we will report on our program and success to help with the evolvement of best practices in urban gardening across the country.”
The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program began in 2020 as a way for the USBG and the Association to help public gardens continue urban agriculture and food growing programs facing funding and capacity challenges due to COVID-19. The Ability Garden is the only award recipient in North Carolina and one of 21 recipients nationwide. To learn more about the program and a full list of recipients, visit USBG.gov/UrbanAg.
Volunteer opportunities will be available to participate in the Creekwood community gardens as the program moves forward. Stay tuned to Arboretum.NHCgov.com, or contact Heather Kelejian at HKelejian@NHCgov.com or 910-798-7682 for more information.