A couple of weeks ago our executive director, Jim Martin, spoke to the Charleston Green Committee about our plans for an urban horticultural center in West Ashley. Another project focused on community gardening project is an urban farm under way at the Medical University of South Carolina.
The urban farm will have 4-foot-wide raised beds, a square plot for row crops, a pavilion possibly with a green roof and a storage building where rainwater will be collected and used to irrigate the plants. A few additional raised beds will be included at an even larger height to accommodate people in wheelchairs.
The mission is to create a place that builds a healthier community by growing crops and social connections, explains Elizabeth Beak with Crop Up. Nutritionists and dieticians will be able to use the garden as a way to teach people about healthy eating. Counselors can use it for therapy.
It’s a lot about changing attitudes and practices with a focus on eating locally.
“The way we have been feeding ourselves in Charleston needs to shift,” Beak says, noting the disparity in the city, which goes from foodies to food deserts.
And with an aging population of farmers and an ever-increasing amount of people living in urban areas, changes in the way people eat are needed.
For us at the Conservancy, it’s exciting to see so many community gardening projects growing up around Charleston. We’ll keep you updated on what’s happening and let us know of other projects in your area or neighborhood.