by Gene Marrano
Roanoke officials, including Mayor David Bowers and members of City Council, recently dedicated a new community garden in the Hurt Park neighborhood, located in the 1700 block of Salem Avenue. “We have about a half dozen projects in the pipeline,” said Mark Powell of the Roanoke Community Garden Association. A $20,000 grant from the Foundation for the Roanoke Valley helped fund the Hurt Park Community Garden.
“We would like to see at least three of these realized for 2012,” said Powell, a community activist in Southeast. Another garden in Southeast Roanoke City features about one third of an acre with 36 parcels and a youth garden. “Our mission is largely to establish a network of organic community gardens throughout the Roanoke region,” added Powell, who created the garden association in 2007. The plan for Hurt Park garden, near the Townhome Community there, includes 100 plots that local residents can apply for. A greenhouse and accessibility for the disabled is also part of the plan.
Benefits of these gardens, per the American Community Garden Association, include being a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, increased opportunities for social interaction, producing nutritious food and preserving green space. Community gardens also promote recreation, exercise, therapy, and education.
Find out more at roanokecommunitygarden.org.