Residents of Villa Rica gathered on Tuesday, Oct. 22 to launch a new community garden at Stockmar Park adjacent to the Pine Mountain Gold Museum. More than 80 people attended the garden kick-off hosted by Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative and its community partners Keep Carroll Beautiful, the City of Villa Rica, Pine Mountain Gold Museum, Walmart.com, The Home Depot Villa Rica and Carroll County Master Gardeners.
The celebration included welcoming remarks from Tanner Health System’s Denise Taylor, Chief Community Health, Strategy and Brand Officer; Jacqueline Dost, Executive Director of Keep Carroll Beautiful; Daniel Jackson, Chairman of Tanner Health System’s Board of Directors and Director of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce; Larry Woods, City Manager for Villa Rica; and pastor Tony Ashmore of LifeGate Church in Villa Rica.
Attendees helped plant garden beds, made crafts, enjoyed refreshments donated by the Chat & Choo restaurant and State Farm Agent Amy Brown and listened to acoustic jazz performed by local guitarist David Pippin. The Gold Museum also offered complimentary train rides on its Pine Mountain Scenic Railroad at the event.
“We want west Georgia to know how rewarding and fun it is to grow your own food,” said Jacqueline Dost, a master gardener and Executive Director of Keep Carroll Beautiful who serves as co-chair of the Get Healthy, Live Well Community Garden Task Force . “The Stockmar Park Community Garden is located near the Mirror Lakes neighborhood, so people can use the extensive walking trails to visit the garden. It’s in a beautiful area that’s very convenient for residents. We’re looking forward to working with the garden members to create a pretty and productive garden.”
A community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people. The Stockmar Park Community Garden features raised planting beds that can be adopted for a nominal annual rental fee. Adoptees can plant their garden plots with any assortment of vegetables, fruits and flowers, and can harvest all the produce they grow.
The Get Healthy, Live Well community garden task force hosts monthly work days and seasonal events to support garden members, teach them how to plant and care for their garden plots and guide them in making the most of each growing season. Garden plot adoption forms and scholarship applications are available online. To learn more about how to adopt a garden bed, visit http://gethealthylivewell.org/community-gardens/.
“We’re thrilled at Villa Rica’s enthusiastic response to this community garden,” said Jillian Walker, co-chair of Get Healthy, Live Well’s Community Garden Task Force. “The site expects to draw around 100,000 visitors in 2014. Many of them are school children who will have the opportunity to visit the garden and learn about the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.”