CrossRoads Community Garden formed in the spring of 2011 on the back property of Chestnut Ridge Christian Church in East Cobb. The first phase of the garden began in 2009 with 3, 4×4 raised beds to grow food to donate to food pantries. This “Feed the Hungry” garden grew to 10 beds the following year. In 2011 the community garden with more beds and lease opportunities for local gardeners was added. In the first spring/summer season of the community garden there were 21 gardeners. The gardeners continue to support the feed the hungry mission with donation of 10% of their yield. The first season of donations netted approximately 150 pounds of fresh produce for area food pantries. Currently, we have 80 gardening beds including donation, fruit, and lease beds. We have 55 families gardening together. Our gardeners range from first time vegetable gardeners to those with long term experience. The gardening steering committee also meets regularly and plans training for the CrossRoads members and other local gardeners.
CrossRoads Community Garden was the beneficiary of Eagle Scout project work and additional sponsor donations from the Church in the spring/summer of 2011. This has allowed expansion to 54 raised beds with 8 more to be built before the spring of 2012. Fifty-two of the beds will be for lease with the current gardeners having the opportunity to renew before the additional beds are released.
The community garden became a Cobb Master Gardener Project in 2011 and the co-chairs and coordinators of the garden are excited about the prospect of working with fellow Master Gardeners to maximize this terrific educational opportunity. We envision research into topics and issues pertinent to raised bed gardening in the “off- season” and great fun projects such as developing plans for a children’s pollinator garden. The project participants can also help with training such as seed starting, composting, soil preparation, vertical gardening, and integrated pest management. They will also help maintain the garden and work in planned common areas where we hope to raise crops such as potatoes and melons. We are eager to initiate our “master in the garden” hours next year where project participants will help community gardeners diagnose and treat problems – like the Extension Hort-line only on-site!