After 14 years in education administration, Harrison resident Jennifer Greenwood is diverting her talents from the confines of the classroom to the outdoors.
As coordinator of the township’s new community garden near Burtner Road, Greenwood is eager to make the space more than a place to pick produce.
“I want to make it something bigger, a community space for everyone,” she said.
“I feel like the sense of community has suffered with everyone working from home in recent years.”
The Birdville Friendship Garden is a new project sponsored by the Highlands Partnership Network and Citizens Hose Fire-Rescue-EMS.
It will transform a former baseball diamond near the fire station into a 1-acre garden with raised beds, a tool lending shed and bike-sharing space.
A $50,000 grant secured with the help of State Senator Lindsey Williams gave the project a boost.
Autumn Monaghan, co-chair of the Highlands Partnership Network, said that as well as helping to solve food insecurity, the aim of the garden is to build relationships.
“We want to get back to that sense of community where everyone knows everyone else,” Monaghan said. “We want to remind everyone that we are all neighbours.”
Activities in the garden will support this mission. The space is pegged to provide sustainability education and offer resources for nearby gardens.
The grant is to be used to help support other community gardens, Monaghan said.
Greenwood will oversee the streamlining of various details to make that happen, Monaghan said.
Among other goals, Greenwood hopes to establish a weekly work schedule in the garden, where volunteers can donate hours not only to weeding and watering, but also to lend talents to marketing, accounting, concessions or writing. subsidies.
Greenwood is developing a website and social media presence and plans to create a regular newsletter to publicize the various projects and events.
The garden accepts donations that will help maintain the garden, including lightly used tools, outdoor lighting, decoration and equipment such as lawnmowers or sheds.
A soft launch of the garden took place on May 28. Ever since then, people have been stopping by to browse the property, pick up free seeds, and learn about potential events.
Greenwood plans a fall festival with food trucks and seasonal activities.
“I focus on communications,” Greenwood said. “I want to develop a project plan and make it what people want it to be.
“We want to involve everyone we can.”