• By Alison Duncan
  • Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013

Help Our Community Grow: Become a Community Garden Mentor!

These days, community gardens can be found almost anywhere: public parks, religious centers, schools, backyards, and even rooftops. They are spaces where individuals come together to grow food, build relationships, and celebrate their communities, and they are as diverse as the people gardening in them.

The more than 120 community gardens in Forsyth County are strengthening our communities in a variety of ways: They are increasing people’s access to fresh produce in food insecure areas. They are fostering relationships between diverse groups of people. They are uniting neighborhoods, groups, clubs, and faith communities.

But many community gardeners are gardening for the first time and need help. Garden groups need assistance with organizing and operating their gardens and with acquiring resources. You can help community gardeners in Forsyth County by participating in the Community Garden Mentor Program and becoming a Community Garden Mentor.

The goal of the Community Garden Mentor Program is to support and sustain community gardens in Forsyth County by matching people who have practical, hands-on vegetable gardening experience with community gardens. A Community Garden Mentor is someone who is knowledgeable about gardening, enjoys sharing that knowledge with others, and has been trained to support community development around gardens. Community Garden Mentors encourage best gardening practices and provide moral support to new gardeners. Mentors commit to visiting their assigned garden on a regular basis during the growing season, answering questions about gardening, and serving as a conduit between their garden and Forsyth County Cooperative Extension.

You can become a Community Garden Mentor by completing the Community Garden Mentor Program. Classes will be offered in January and February with both daytime and evening sessions available. The program is free. Participants in the Community Garden Mentor Program receive 15 hours of in-class instruction centered on the American Community Garden Association’s Growing Communities curriculum. In addition to this initial training, Mentors attend monthly meetings throughout the year to share their resources and strengthen the community gardening network.

Spring 2014 Community Gardening Mentor Program

  • Tuesday Evening Classes: January 14- February 4 from 6pm-9pm
  • Thursday Daytime Classes: February 6- February 20 from 9am-1pm
  • Saturday Community Gardens Tour: February 22, from 9am-12pm
  • Monthly Meetings: March-December

Cost: Free

Location: All classes and monthly meetings will be held at the Forsyth County Agriculture Building at 1450 Fairchild Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27105.

If you are interested in becoming a Community Garden Mentor, contact Kathy Hepler for an application at 336-703-2852 or at kathy_hepler@ncsu.edu. Applications are also available online at www.forsythcommunitygardening.com.

If you would like to request a Community Garden Mentor for your community garden, contact Alison Duncan, Forsyth County’s Community Gardening Coordinator. She can be reached by phone at 336-703-2859 or by email at duncanal@forsyth.cc.

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