GFB supports garden for United Way Resource Center
Posted on Apr 18, 2023 at 20:00 PM
By Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau
Central Georgia residents working to get back on their feet at the Brookdale Resource Center in Macon now have a garden to grow fresh vegetables. On April 11, community leaders, volunteers and Bibb County students planted the first seeds and plants at the Brookdale Garden intended to feed Brookdale residents with fresh produce.
Sweet potatoes, squash, corn, okra, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries are now growing in the garden.
“Here at Brookdale, we believe that life can begin again in this garden with the right set of circumstances, protected space, and the time and patience that life itself can begin again in those walls,” said United to End Homelessness Director Dr. Jake Hall. “The space we have here that connects our community is generative in ways far beyond just the nutrition.”
The Brookdale Resource Center serves as a transitional housing and resource center for people experiencing homelessness in Central Georgia. Brookdale's 90-day program focuses on equipping residents with the skills necessary to achieve financial stability and obtain permanent housing. Since opening in January 2021, the Brookdale Center has helped almost 2,000 people, including families and children, with a wide array of needed services, find homes, earn jobs, get documentation, find a way home, and more. The United Way of Central Georgia manages the center.
The center’s garden is volunteer and donation based. Georgia Farm Bureau is one of many community partners, donating $2,500 for supplies. Warren Associates donated wood for the 49 raised garden beds. Rutland High School FFA students built the wooden frames for the raised beds.
Evergreen Landscaping donated dirt. The Macon/Bibb Parks & Beautification Department set up the garden beds, filling them with dirt and spreading mulch. Minton Lawn & Garden Center and Karsten & Denson donated plants and seeds. The Macon/Bibb Recreation Department put up fencing, and Tractor Supply has committed to providing tools and other materials needed to maintain the garden.
“When Georgia Farm Bureau was asked to support a garden to feed residents at the Brookdale Center, we were glad to help,” GFB President Tom McCall said. “Farmers are all about feeding people whether it’s through the crops we grow or our backyard gardens. This is a great chance for Brookdale residents to learn how to grow vegetables and enjoy the fruits of their labor. It will also help people learn that their food doesn’t come from a storeroom in a grocery store and help them understand what farmers do to grow food for their table.”
Susan Fisher, manager of The Gardens at Brookdale, says the garden should provide enough vegetables for more than 100 people at Brookdale throughout the growing season. Volunteers are welcome to come work at the garden on April 22 from 9 to 11 a.m. Visit https://unitedwaycg.org/gardens-brookdale to register to volunteer.