Community Garden grows more than food

By Kelly Lee, Regional Associate, Coastal Plain North

You could not have asked for a more beautiful day to visit the Conetoe Family Life Center's Community Garden. 

The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze blowing ... a perfect morning for walking the fields.

The community garden has been in Conetoe for about six years now and is a special project for Rev. Richard Joyner.  

The garden is massive! There were rows upon rows of potatoes, early peas, spring onions, cabbage, greens and even more plants being incubated in a self-made greenhouse! The garden project also has it's own beehives and produces local honey and is now experimenting with their own worms!

But the great part about this project is not just the food that it grows ... it is the relationships.

We were welcomed by what have to be some of the most genuinely warm people in our beautiful state.  They were full of knowledge about every aspect of the farm and were so excited to share that knowledge.

Who benefits the most from this?  The local community is welcome to harvest at the garden, so certainly, they benefit. But I believe it is the army of fifty-eight local children ages four and up that benefit the most.  This group of kids are exposed to every aspect of the garden, from pulling weeds, to planting, fixing the tractors, harvesting and selling the excess. and of course, to the loving guidance of the caretakers of the project.  

As the title states, this garden grows more than food.  It is growing capable, healthy and generous children who are learning all about caring for their surrounding community and beyond. 

I am so excited that two of the affiliates in my region have financially supported this program through grant funding over the past several years. The Edgecombe Charitable Foundation and the Futrell-Mauldin Community Foundation have had a small part in making the lives of this community better. 

Good things are growing in Conetoe, NC.