The first thing you notice when you enter the gate of the Reconnecting Our Roots garden is the peace. Even though it is just a street or two off the Marietta Square, it is quiet. There are raised beds for vegetables, an outdoor classroom, a sensory garden, and plenty of tables for seating. For a brief video walking tour of the garden visit Reconnecting Our Roots Garden Tour.
The goal of this garden is unique. The garden was made to offer a space for youth and families under court supervision. Moms have an opportunity to visit with children who are no longer in their custody. As Cobb County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Renae Lemon says, “it is a happy place where Moms and children can connect with dignity.” Probation officers can meet with the youth under their supervision here as well.
Benefits of the Reconnecting Our Roots Garden
The vegetable garden part of this space is equally important. Community members and program participants can learn how to grow good, nutritious food. UGA Master Gardeners will lead the way in education here. Also, the outdoor classroom can be used for cooking demonstrations and nutrition classes. Food harvested here will go to the families that use the garden as well as other families in need.
Debbie Ponder of Reconnecting Families has put a lot of work into getting this garden started with the supportive Cobb County community. The property is on two city parcels owned by Zion Baptist Church and the church is partnering with Reconnecting Families and Cobb County Extension. With the full support of Cobb County Juvenile Court Judge Juanita Stedman, the garden has attracted many supporters. The Rotary Club of Marietta, Food Well Alliance, Cobb County Impact, the Cobb EMC Foundation, BB&T, WellCare and Leadership Cobb have invested in this garden and are committed to seeing it succeed. This garden will change families!
Cobb Extension Agent Neil Tarver says of the garden, “Some obvious benefits gained from Reconnecting Our Roots Community Garden is using gardening to serve the clients of Reconnecting Families and supplying them with wholesome locally grown food. But by developing two previously barren lots they’re helping to beautify and stabilize an underdeveloped part of Marietta as well.”
Over the summer the gardeners will add blueberries and also an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant walkway with ADA compliant garden beds. On Saturday, June 20th the garden will host a pollinator event. Interested people can come and bring a pollinator plant which will be planted in the garden. For more information about this event or the garden contact Renae Lemon at Renae.Lemon@cobbcounty.org. This garden is off to a huge start!