The Chicora Place Community Garden is located in the heart of our community on North Carolina & Spruill Aves. In 2011, under the leadership of Metanoia homeowner and Clemson Master Gardener Germaine Jenkins, neighborhood residents and volunteers began the transformation of a ½ acre vacant lot used for illegal activities into a thriving, sustainable community garden. Starting with around 45 plants, the garden now has several hundred, including tomatoes, okra, greens, beans and banana trees. Even though Metanoia sponsors the garden, the neighborhood residents that tend the garden are the real owners. In an area with dozens of convenience stores but no grocery store for miles, residents are using the garden to harvest several hundred pounds of fresh, healthy and free produce each year. The garden provided over 1000 lbs. of fresh produce in 2013. The people of our neighborhoods are planning, building and maintaining their own recreational and green spaces, demonstrating the effectiveness of the community-led approach to sustainable change– all of this in a neighborhood that has been labelled as “deficient” in the past.
We have been able to bring additional capacity to the garden by forming partnerships with local organizations that have bought into the concept of letting residents of the community lead decision-making processes. From the beginning, the City of North Charleston, who owns the land, has worked with neighborhood leaders like Germaine to realize our vision of sustainable recreation and green space. Corporate partners MWV Specialty Chemicals and Cummins have provided countless volunteer hours and equipment, the latter installing an underground irrigation system. In late 2013, Select Health and AmeriHealth Caritas worked directly with neighborhood residents to fund and install a children’s playground right next to the garden. There are plans to add additional adult exercise equipment in the near future.
– Join the community every second Saturday of the month for Community Garden Workdays. Learn new gardening skills,meet new people and taste what the garden has to offer! Open to all! Call our offices at 843.529.3014 for more details.