WWOOFing Part 2: Grundy County Community Garden

Grundy County Community Garden was created last year in order to supply high-quality organic produce to the Grundy County Food Bank, which feeds 550 families per month. Grundy County currently ranks last in “overall health” of the 95 counties in Tennessee and the community garden project hopes to change that by not only providing food but also by working with food bank recipients and other locals to educate and empower them to grow their own food. To that end, the garden regularly hosts informal educational sessions on the farm where it’s located, teaching people about where their food comes from in general but also about sustainable practices, upcycling materials they might already have, soil health, and plant care. The garden specifically focuses on small-scale production methods using recycled containers for planters and materials like old tires for tire gardens as well as the more traditional raised beds and direct planting in the soil. By showing people how to grow their own food on site and through consulting with interested people on their own properties, the community garden project hopes to show them how to provide their own food security.

Because I arrived the last week of January and it’s now only the very beginning of March we haven’t done any planting yet this year, but my WWOOF host Jonathan and I had have gotten the garden prepared by cleaning up and building more raised beds using old recycled wood. There is a frame for a future greenhouse that will allow seedlings to be started next year and also possibly extend the growing season at the end of the current year but for now, we’ll soon be starting seeds using cold frames which can be constructed by making a square with hay bales and then laying an old, recycled window pane on top to catch solar radiation. Also in the near future we’ll be composting and preparing the soil and writing grants to obtain funding for transplants and seeds. For now, we’re awaiting warmer weather while working on other projects!

Jonathan hammering raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Jonathan hammering raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Me building raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Me building raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Jonathan hammering raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Jonathan hammering raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Raised bed with scrap wood pile and recycled garage frame that is going to be built into a greenhouse, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Raised bed with scrap wood pile and recycled garage frame that is going to be built into a greenhouse, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Finished raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Finished raised beds, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee

Compost bins in Spring 2013, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee (Picture taken by Laura Carpenter)

Compost bins in Spring 2013, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee (Picture taken by Laura Carpenter)

Tire gardens with potatoes, Summer 2013, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee (Picture taken by Laura Carpenter)

Tire gardens with potatoes, Summer 2013, Grundy County Community Garden, White City, Tennessee (Picture taken by Laura Carpenter)