Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baker County Community Garden Facing Immediate Closure

Baker County's "Growing with a Heart Garden" adjacent to the Baker County Sheriff's Complex in Macclenny is facing closure immediately.

The community garden encompassed 2 acres and has been in existence for the last 18 months.  The produce from the garden went to Samaritan House Food Bank, managed by Pastor Mitch Rhoden of United Christian Church in Macclenny.  Thousands of pounds of produce will no longer be available to needy families in Baker county.

They are also losing a program that gave Baker county inmates and other offenders an opportunity to learn to garden and to participate in a program which allowed them to give back to their community. Members of the community in need of food could come to the garden and in return for their work, take home their harvest.  There was a teaching garden so that members of the community could learn to garden at home.

What is Baker County getting in return? Is there an immediate need for this land? This article states that while a new county administration building was planned for the site "in recent years" that there seems to be no plan to begin building in the foreseeable future.  The Baker County Commissioners have neither the funding in place to begin building nor have they issued orders to begin building.

With this in mind, why is this community garden being shut down? With no plans on the table to use the site, why can the community garden not continue its program for the next year? While some effort is expended to find another site.

Baker county lists only 2 community gardens:  "Growing with a Heart Garden" and the Macclenny Elementary School Garden. As the only garden open to the public, Baker county is facing a disastrous setback to gardening education in the area and Healthy Baker is losing a great program.

To contact the "Growing with a Heart Garden", please use the following link:  Contact "Growing with a Heart Garden"

For the full story, read  Final harvest at Community Garden by Joel Addington  March 5, 2012 The Baker County Press, online ed.

PDF version of the print article Community Garden Nixed; county may need the land by Joel Addington March 1, 2012 The Baker County Press, print ed.

Public Garden Feeds The Hungry by Kelley Lannigan December 23, 2010