Olde Charlestowne Sertoma Club Donation Benefits Newest Community Garden

Tim Strickland of the Olde Charlestowne Sertoma Club presents a check for $10,000 to Harry Lesesne of the Charleston Parks Conservancy.

A new James Island community garden is $10,000 closer to reality thanks to a donation from the Olde Charlestowne Sertoma Club. On Oct. 17 the club made a donation to Medway Park and Community Garden, a new garden the Charleston Parks Conservancy is planning for the Riverland Terrace area. The Sertoma Club is encouraging the rest of the community to contribute to this project and match its donation. 

Working with the community, the Conservancy aims to install a community garden at Medway Park – one of the few public parks on James Island – in spring 2015. Community members are assisting with fundraisers and there’s already a waiting list of neighbors interested in leasing garden plots. 

Medway Community Garden will have 50-60 garden beds available for lease and another eight to 12 community beds, which are used for instruction. Produce harvested from the community beds is donated to local food pantries. The garden will also have water and power provided by the City of Charleston as well as a garden pavilion/tool shed. The project’s estimated cost is $40,000. 

The Conservancy’s Community Garden Program began in 2010 with the Elliotborough Community Garden located just off Line Street in downtown Charleston. This year the program expanded into West Ashley with the opening of Magnolia Park and Community Garden, a 3.7-acre urban green space in the Avondale community. 

Since its April opening, Magnolia Community Garden has expanded to 60 leased garden beds plus 11 community beds used for teaching. Volunteers harvest those beds for local food pantries. In just five months, those community beds generated 500 pounds of produce for area food banks. Magnolia Park and Community Garden is also the site for several free gardening classes that are open to the public. 

With the help of the Conservancy, anyone can learn to organically grow, care for, harvest and use their garden’s bounty from “park to table.” 

“We have seen the impact Magnolia Community Garden has had in not only teaching people to grow their own food but also in fostering friendships and a true sense of community. We are excited to deliver that same experience to the residents of James Island and are grateful to the Olde Charlestowne Sertoma Club for bringing this community garden one step closer to fruition,” said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. 

The Olde Charlestowne Sertoma Club is an active supporter of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, having provided donations and volunteers to help at Magnolia Park and Community Garden, Tiedemann Park and Nature Center and at the Shaw Center.

“Our partnership with the Conservancy has allowed us to donate thousands of dollars for the benefit of the entire community and given our members and our partners in the West Ashley High School ROTC a place to work with our hands and not just our checkbook,” said Tommy Brush, chairman of the Sertoma Club board. “We hope that our involvement will cause others in the community to come forward and help complete the project and show pride in their communities.

Members of the Old Charlestowne Sertoma Club gather with staff and volunteers of the Charleston Parks Conservancy to present a donation for the creation of new community garden on James Island. Pictured, from left, are Pictured are Harry Lesesne and Jim Martin of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, Olde Charlestowne Sertoma Club members Tim Strickland, Kim Brush, Tommy Brush, Conservancy volunteer Walter Barton, club members Bernadette Faretra, Ron Fartera and Robbie Igoe.

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