- By Mary Jac Brennan
- Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012
We want YOU to be a Community Garden Mentor!
Community Gardens can be found in many Forsyth County neighborhoods and are as diverse as the people gardening in them. While community gardens have similarities in the way the gardens are set up, each uniquely reflects the gardeners’ personalities. There are over 90 community gardens in Forsyth County.
Community gardening is a great tool for improving food access to individuals who may not have good garden conditions on their property and to neighborhoods that are suffering from food insecurity. Community Gardens are wonderful organizing tools for neighborhoods, clubs, and faith communities. Many community gardeners are gardening for the first time and need help with the basics of growing a garden. Garden groups may need help with garden organization, operation, and resources. Serving as a mentor to a community garden is one way to help improve fresh food access in Forsyth County.
A Community Garden Mentor is someone who is knowledgeable about gardening, enjoys sharing that knowledge with others, and has been trained to support community development around gardens. A Community Garden Mentor encourages best practices in the community garden, while providing moral support to new gardeners and their gardens. Mentors will commit to visiting their assigned garden on a regular basis during the growing season, to answer questions about gardening, to bring in the Community Garden Extension Agent when needed, and to encourage the gardens to participate in the Community Garden Resource Program classes and activities. Community Garden Mentors are matched to gardens that will best suit schedules and personalities.
Community Garden Mentor Training classes are offered in January and February with daytime and nighttime sessions available. The classes are free and supported by a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation. The classes include 18 hours of mentor training in classroom instruction including the American Community Garden Association ‘Growing Communities’ curriculum, as well as field trips to community gardens. During the growing season, mentors are required to attend a monthly meeting with other Garden Mentors. Throughout the year, Mentors are encouraged to enroll in the ‘Sustaining Community Gardens Series’ and to take advantage of other classes offered by the Consumer Horticulture Program of Forsyth Cooperative Extension.
The goal of the Community Garden Mentor program is to match people who have practical, hands-on vegetable gardening experience with gardening groups in order to help support and sustain community gardens in Forsyth County. You have an opportunity to make a difference in your community. Help improve food access in Forsyth County by sharing your love of gardening with others as a Community Garden mentor.
If you are interested in becoming a community garden mentor, contact Mary Jac Brennan, Extension Agent for Community Gardens for an application. Phone 336-703-2850 or click here for an application.
If you are interested in requesting a community garden mentor for your community garden, contact Mary Jac Brennan, Extension Agent for Community Gardens for a request form. Phone 336-703-2850 or click here for a request form.