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NLR Community Gardens program continues to grow

The North Little Rock Community Gardens program continues to grow since its inception about three years ago.

According to Bernadette Gunn-Rhodes, the North Little Rock Fit2Live coordinator, the program had one garden in 2011, rose to 13 gardens in 2012 and now has 19 gardens in 2013.

“All the gardens are different,” Gunn-Rhodes said.

To date, the city of North Little Rock has contributed $77,349.19 to the community gardens program which has helped provide garden planning, consultation, community meetings, outreach, soil preparation, planting and harvesting.

The focus of the program includes helping people to have more food security, healthier meal options, community beautification, provide a greater sense of community, and youth entrepreneurship.

The program provides people to construct both communal and individual plots for their gardens with some beds designed to be in the ground while others raised above ground.

Of the 19 gardens, three are employee gardens, set up by workers in the North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department, North Little Rock City Services Department, and North Little Rock Code Enforcement Department.

There are a total of two high school gardens, being planted by the North Little Rock East Campus and the North Little Rock Academy. In addition, Crestwood Elementary School is the lone elementary school which has planted a garden.

The program also has three churches which have planted gardens: 8th Street Missionary Baptist, First Presbyterian Church, and East Second Street Community Garden at Bailey Chapel Baptist Church.

The program has attracted two non-profit farms which have planted gardens: The Field, whose focus is the homeless population, and Vestal Urban Farm which focuses on youth entrepreneurship.

The number also includes eight neighborhood gardens, which are: Skyline, Argenta Community, Argenta Vegetable, Sherman Park, Fresh Veggies Idlewild, Grow Levy, Heritage House, and Dark Hollow.

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