“We are NOT building a garden. We are breaking generational barriers, cultivating and amending the fallow ground of imagination and hope, planting seeds of thought, birthing fruit of propensity for prosperity. That – that is what we are doing.” This is on a sign that greets you when you visit the Healthy Life Community Gardens in Griffin. The garden is located on the grounds of the old Fairmont High School, which was started as a Rosenwald school. Rosenwald schools were primarily built for the education of African-Americans in the early 20th century. So, there is a lot of history here. But, the school has been closed down for some time now and the area forgotten until the idea was born to create a garden here. And, it is a beautiful garden.
There is no cost to get a plot at the garden and the Griffin Area Housing Authority
provides water. There are 17 official gardeners using assigned raised beds. And, others who come to just volunteer here. There is a
pollinator garden and a nice seating area. A unique feature to this garden is the “Summer in the Garden” reading program where volunteers from the FERST Foundation bring garden-themed books to read and give to young gardeners. The space has designated Community Areas where anyone can pick and take vegetables. They have recently added some fruit and pecan trees.
At the heart of the garden is Patti Beckham. Patti is a program assistant with Spalding County Extension and you can hear the passion in her voice as she talks about the garden, and the people who garden here. Patti taught at Fairmont for eight years
when it became a special needs school. She loves seeing the place reborn. She conducts a Junior Master Garden program here and also supervises 4-H students who are volunteers. Patti and Wade Hutcheson, the Spalding County ANR agent, agree that
the number one need is more gardeners from the immediate community. Wade says the garden is here and within walking distance of so many people, he is hoping that more will come out. For more information about the garden contact Wade at the Spalding County Extension Office at 770-467-4225.
The first rule at the Healthy Life Community Gardens is “I will have fun.” Isn’t that great?