|Participants loved to explore the gardens...this is the Dill Street Community Garden that is part of the Sullivan Community Center in Atlanta|
I haven't blogged in a while but am still on a "high" from a fabulous annual conference for ACGA and NEED to write about it because it was so wonderful. Previous conferences have been held in Portland (Oregon), Indianapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, NYC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Toronto, Boston, Columbus (Ohio) and Atlanta again (did I forget any?). This conference took place August 6-8 at the Loudermilk Center in downtown Atlanta.
The mood of the conference was enthusiastic, inspiring and hopeful. There was amazing energy among a truly diverse group of nearly 300 participants of all ages and backgrounds. The conference was filled with great workshops, garden tours and excellent speakers (including First Lady Michelle Obama via videotape about the White House vegetable garden and her commitment to fighting child obesity). The theme "A Holistic Approach to Building Sustainable and Healthy Communities " was carried out beautifully with an emphasis on how community gardens can be a force in preventing childhood obesity and promoting child health. Speakers and workshops gave great examples of how this is being done in schools, community gardens, food banks, etc.
Two workshops that I attended were outstanding.
|Bikes and busses were the methods of transportation to visit community gardens|
|Founder of a booming neighborhood community garden in a lot behind her backyard|
|Participant from a new citywide program in San Francisco|
The Mother Hubbard's Cupboard is a food pantry in Bloomington Indiana. Leader Stephanie Solomon led a workshop "Growing Food Access: Garden Education at the Food Pantry". Mother Hubbard sponsors four gardens which are tended by those who receive food from the food pantry. Stephanie shared great ideas for connecting families with healthy eating habits.
I left feeling in awe of how brilliantly these women are organizing truly "holistic" programs.
|Dill Street Community Garden|
Program of Sullivan Community Center
(Bottom) Tool shed that has a solar panel to provide power for lights and sound systems)
|Experienced and enthusasitc gardener tells us about her plants including this awesome Princess Amaranth|
My only regret is not having photos of a fabulous party on Saturday night at the Urban Metro Farm with every kind of southern food, a blues band and a tour of their new farm. A silent auction yielded $1500 for ACGA.
|Ursula Chance from Bronx Greenup...checking out that mulch!|
I returned home feeling renewed and refreshed. I'm inspired to keep connecting with these great people, especially those in our NC gardens and to improve our Food Bank Community Garden here in Winston-Salem. (http://www.foodbankgarden.blogspot.com/)
Thanks to the organizers and the great participants. Bobby Wilson and Kathy Walker of Fulton County Extension are the best!
For more information about the American Community Gardening Association, go to http://www.communitygarden.org/