Garden Project in Hobson City Community
Youth and adults display a bountiful harvest from the Hobson City community garden.
By Alice Love, Natural Resource Specialist, CMO, NRCS State Office, Auburn, AL
In March 2011, Mayor Alberta McCrory and members of the Hobson City, Alabama, City Council met representatives from the Alabama Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to discuss potential grant funding to support a community garden.
Through the support of NRCS; Eddie May, former Coordinator, Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council; Mr. Victor Khan, Tuskegee University Plant Breeder/Horticulturist; and Beshears Tractor Company; the Hobson City Community Garden was well underway by May 2011.
With the support of conservation partners, community residents were able to take a playground at the old C.E. Hanna School and feed many from the garden of about 1/10 of an acre.
The garden allows youth and adults to be exposed first hand to non-traditional gardening/farming techniques through the use of micro-irrigation under plasticulture. This practice is well known and adopted in the state through the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
The W.A.S. Youth Community Garden Club is named in recognition of three former graduates of the Calhoun County Training School located in Historic Hobson City, Alabama.
W = Dr. Booker Tillman Whatley (1915–2005), a native son of Calhoun County, AL, and former faculty member of Tuskegee University. During his tenure at the University, he established a successful Sweet Potato and Muscadine Breeding Program.
A = Dr. Alfonza Atkinson (died September 7, 2004) was a three time graduate of Tuskegee University (BS in Biology 1967, BS in Agriculture 1971, and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (1973). He served as Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health at the University from 1999 to the time of his death.
S = Dr. David Satcher (born March 2, 1941) is an American Physician and Public Health Administrator. Among other contributions, he served as the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health and the 16th Surgeon General of the United States. He currently serves on the board of Johnson and Johnson.
On November 12, 2011, W.A.S. hosted its first produce (collard greens) sale in conjunction to an onsite Field Day/Health Screening event. Prior to this date, produce (peas, corn, peanuts, beans, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, melons, and squash) were given to citizens in the community. This summer the garden produced 2,900 pounds of vegetables.
The community garden provides opportunities to educate youth and adults in healthy eating, vegetable nutrition values, etc. Local medical professionals, Dr. Cherice Greene and her husband, support the garden and promote it as a mechanism to combat obesity along with other common medical conditions.
W.A.S. members are planning to convert an old school into an Agricultural Center which will include a Seasonal High Tunnel (hoop house), muscadine and blueberry vineyards, a greenhouse, and an aquaculture facility. The Center will be used to teach the ABC’s of gardening and agri-business to area youth and adults, provide a demonstration site for NRCS-EQIP practices, provide a community gardening model for other communities, provide fresh locally grown produce, and promote healthy eating and physical fitness. The motto of the club is, “Bloom Where You are Planted”!!
(l-r) Elijah Moore, Coosa Valley RC&D; Kathy McCrimmon and Cheryl Hall, Calhoun County Soil and Water Conservation District; Jesse Lancaster, Town Clerk; and Jody Burdette, NRCS District Conservationist.
(l-r) Dr. Cherice Green; Eddie May, Coosa Valley RC&D; Deneava Barnes, City Council Member; Veronica May,
Assistant Principal at Oxford Elementary School; Alberta McCrory, Hobson City Mayor; Victor Kahn, Tuskegee
University Plant Breeder/Horticulturist; Elijah Moore, retired NRCS-DC; and Charles Gaddis.
Gardeners prepare collard greens for sale.
Community residents attend garden sale and other events during field day.