Fact Sheet (Q & A) about the Garden


...is to grow fresh food to meet emergency needs of hungry people.

We are a group of volunteers who organize and operate the Food Bank Community Garden on three acres at The Children's Home in Winston-Salem, NC.

Unemployment and economic distress have caused the number of people needing emergency food to dramatically increase in the past few years; in the 18 counties served by Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, nearly a quarter of a million people are at risk of hunger, including more than 80,000 children. Today, 1 in 10 Americans is food insecure, which means they cannot reliably say where their next meal is coming from. Hungry children can't learn and hungry adults can't work and live productively. Hunger in our communities is largely hidden. But whether it involves a parent skipping meals, eating less than is needed to live a healthy life or making due with foods that are filling but lack nutrition, its affects can be devasting, especially among our more vulnerable citizens, including children and older adults.

What does it mean that you are a community garden?

Community gardens involve a group of people who enjoy gardening and its outdoor setting; in our food bank community garden we work together for a common purpose by producing fresh, locally grown food for those in greatest need in our community. Our work together at the garden keeps us mindful of conditions that challenge people in our extended community. We see our work in this community garden as one aspect of combating hunger.

How did the garden begin?

 In 1998, Jim Holmes, Jr. saw a need for growing more food for combating hunger. In a simple discussion between Holmes and his son as they drove past The Children's Home, Jim Holmes III remembers his father saying "What a shame we aren't cultivating some of that land to grow food for hungry people". Very soon, Jim got the garden going and collaborated with Second Harvest and The Children's Home. 2011 is the 14th year of continuous operation of the garden.

Who uses the food?

 People who participate in various community programs including soup kitchens, emergency food pantries, shelters, and feeding programs that serve children and seniors... Through nearly 400 agencies from Boone to Burlington ( including 102 in Forsyth county), food is received and distributed through Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC on Reed Street in Winston-Salem.

What do you grow?

18 different crops: tomatoes, peppers, okra, squash (acorn and yellow), watermelons, cantaloupe, beans, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, collard, mustard and turnip greens, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet potatoes and various trial crops. We also have an herb garden. Last year we grew over 5000 lbs. of food.

After you harvest the produce, how does it get to Second Harvest?

Volunteers take it to Lowe's Supermarket on Robinhood Road. It is boxed and kept in their produce locker until the next day when Second Harvest trucks pick it up and take it to their warehouse on Reed Street.

How do we promote sustainable practices?

 We practice good conservation methods that preserve and protect the land including... 1) improving the soil by adding organic materials (for example,. many truckloads of fall leaves from Wake Forest University, crop rotation, cover cropping and using city mulch), 2)using organic fertilizers, 3) attracting pollinators by planting flowers throughout the garden including a children's butterfly garden, 4) conserving water by using a drip irrigation system, 5) avoiding the use of herbicides and weeding by hand as much as possible, 6)limiting the use of pesticides, in which case we use botanicals, 7 )planting tons of sunflowers to attract birds(we are members of the Great Sunflower Project, 10)using beehives.

Who does the work?

We are an all volunteer garden; a coordinating committee oversees the planning and leads planting and harvesting, watering, fertilizing, mowing.

Who are the volunteers?

We have individuals and groups. About 20 volunteers come regularly (at least once every other week, some come weekly); the remainder come as groups. We include adults, children and youth. Many families come. Groups include garden clubs, school groups, day camps, churches, temples, university students, Boy and Girl Scouts, teachers groups, etc. Some of the organizations represented are Wake Forest Univ. MBA program, Centenary and Ardmore United Methodist Churches, Temple Emanuel, Weed and Seed Garden Club, Forsyth Country Day School, Montessori School, Boys and Girls Club, and others.

This spring a Wake Forest Sociology Course "Food Studies" launched a student project to create a spring garden next to the shed. Three students and one faculty member worked on this project from March-May.

When do you meet at the garden?

We plant in the spring and harvest during the summer and fall. Starting June 2, we will harvest three times a week (see below for schedule).

How do you communicate with volunteers? We have an email list (harvest.tomatoes @gmail.com) and a blog, www.foodbankgarden.blogspot.com. Please request to be on the e list or a phone list if you want regular communication about what is going on.

Do you need more volunteers? YES, especially at our regular harvesting times, from June-September:

Beginning Thursday, June 2

Tuesday and Thursday, 5:30-7 PM

Saturday, 9-10:30 AM

Do you work with any other groups? Yes, the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Service, The Children's Home, Rev. Maria Edmonds of Centenary UMC, Second Harvest Food Bank and many others. We also connect with small farms in our area and organizations such as the Carolina Farm Stewardship Alliance.

Who is your sponsor? Centenary United Methodist Church; we also work closely with The Children's Home and are very grateful to have use of this beautiful land in the heart of Winston-Salem.

For more information, call:
(336) 922- 7195

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for schecule, history, photos, etc of garden go to :