Nov. 3, 2009: The rebuilding of the garden in September and October included removing trees and underbrush on the bank at right. The work opened the garden up to sun that is helping the fall vegetables thrive.
Have dirt, will garden
Nov. 3, 2009
Driver R.C. Dellinger backed a Wallace Farm truck into the garden plot adjoining Friendship Trays on April 24. And out came 17 cubic yards of dirt donated by the Farm. Volunteers loaded the dirt into raised beds over the weekend. Read the WBTV story or watch the video on their website about the beginnings of the demonstration garden.
A donation of bedding plants by Renfrow's Hardware in Matthews pushed into high gear a project that aims to harvest fresh produce for Friendship Trays meals while enlarging the Community School of Charlotte's proven capacity to train underemployed adults to gain job and life skills.
Welcome to Friendship Farms & Gardens. This project started small with a demonstration garden, but it grows every day and has a much larger vision. As the project develops, you'll find information at this site. We hope you bookmark it and come back often to see what progress is being made.
And we hope you will become an active participant by donating your time, expertise, in-kind donations or financial support.
Distribution Street leaseholder and longtime Friendship Trays supporter Bruce Parker had offered a portion of the green space shown below as a site for a demonstration garden for the Farms & Gardens project.
During the spring and summer, the experimental garden gave volunteers great experience with raised beds, dirt, shade, wind, varmints and other factors critical to successful gardening in an urban environment.
From the first weeks, volunteers from the Charlotte chapter of the national Slow Food organization have been active participants. The organization "adopted" the demonstration garden as one of its projects for 2009, and early in September laid out plans to rebuild the space into an education and inspiration space to encourage more gardening, more consumption of locally produced food, and more support for the area farmers who provide that food. The new fall garden was be in full swing by the time Slow Food collaborated with Friendship Trays on a Garden Party on the site on Oct. 23.
Produce from the fall garden, like the produce from the summer garden, will be used in this Charlotte-Mecklenburg meals-on-wheels program to increase the nutritional value of meals going to homebound or ailing people throughout the community.
At this website we'll chronicle the development of the project, the people involved, and how you can become one of those people.
As Friendship Trays Executive Director Lucy Bush Carter explained at an April 14 organizational meeting:
"My vision is that we will create a network of gardens and growing and we will teach and in the process we will supply the Urban Ministry, [the Center for Community Transitions], bring all of that together because it could create an abundance with the cooperative, right sprit, because it's the right thing to do. We could create an abundance that we can all benefit from.
"For the bottom line of Friendship Trays, it means we can take more of our dollars to subsidize the people that need the meals, rather than spending it on food, which we do now – spending over $300,000 on food. We can reduce that cost and get good fresh stuff and teach people in the process, just the way we do with the Culinary School."
We welcome your comments and suggestions, along with your active participation. Message Lucy Bush Carter.
Visit the garden
The Friendship Garden is behind 2401 Distribution Street in South End Charlotte. Park your vehice behind the building; garden adjoins the parking lot. Here's a map to Distribution Street.
April 6, 2009: Site on Distribution Street before work began to clear debris, bushes and vines.
April 20, 2009: First raised bed, made of bricks abandoned on the site, receives donated pepper plants.
April 24, 2009: Driver R.C. Dellinger backed a Wallace Farm truck into the garden plot adjoining Friendship Trays, and out came 17 cubic yards of dirt donated by the Farm. Volunteers loaded the dirt into raised beds over the weekend. Read the WBTV story or watch the video on their website about the beginnings of the demonstration garden.
April 29, 2009: Melissa planted a variety of vegetables in the raised beds, then watered.
May 9, 2009: From left, Rich, Matt and Bre begin work on a rainwater capture system in the demonstration garden.
June 1, 2009: Bean seedlings were planted over the weekend in a new raised bed in the demonstration garden.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Harold harvested the first vegetable from the demonstration garden.
Photo by Jacquie Morges.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
July 1, 2009: Freedom School visits the garden.
July 30, 20009
July 24, 2009
Aug. 7, 2009
Aug. 21, 2009
Sept. 3, 2009
Sept. 15, 2009
Sept. 19, 2009
Sept. 28, 2009
Sept. 30, 2009: Organizers of the Slow Food/Friendship Trays Garden Party meet for their weekly update on preparations for the Oct. 23 fund-raising event.