Lindsey Mann’s vision of a neighborhood garden in Decatur will soon bear fruit – well, vegetables.
Beds were dug on the one-acre plot at the Sugar Creek Garden on April 3 and the first planting is set for April 19. The garden is in a stormwater detention basin behind the Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church at the corner of East Lake and Second Avenue.
The project is part of the Oakhurst Community Garden and will be managed by Mann and her company, Sustenance Design.
“The goal of the Oakhurst Community Garden fits nicely with the city of Decatur,” said David Junger, Decatur assistant city manager for public works. “A portion will be used for education – how to grow food, protect the environment, improve nutrition and build community interest with each other. The goal for financial sustainability is for the garden to sustain itself after the first three years with no city funding.”
Mann said the garden will be different from a community garden, which typically is divided into 6-by-8 foot plots that are rented by area residents. Sugar Creek will be planted in “farm-like rows, aimed at better production so volunteers will learn more about organic gardening,” Mann said.
Decatur city officials will plant tomatoes on April 19, and the garden eventually will be planted with okra, eggplant and peppers, Mann said.
Families or individuals who want to volunteer two to four hours a week can have a share of the garden, Mann said, but the primary focus of the garden is education.
“We’ll bring a lot of children’s groups to the garden to either participate in the farming or to tour. We’ll also host organic growing workshops. The garden will be open to anyone who wants to participate. I’d love for children to start a market to sell some of the food that is grown there.”
Harvested crops will be divided among volunteers. The excess food will likely be sold to local restaurants. Any money raised will be used to pay off the city or be put back into the garden, Mann said.
In addition to the vegetable garden, additional space will be devoted to growing a flower garden and composting, Junger said.
The city of Decatur has committed $55,000 over a three-year period, with $15,00 designated for this year, and $20,000 each in 2011 and 2012, Junger said.
Anyone who wants to volunteer or who may be interested in bringing children’s groups can e-mail Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org