Pettis, S.1
1Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension, Hendersonville, NC, 28792


County Agents and Extension Master Gardener Volunteers with NC State Cooperative Extension work to increase agricultural awareness and fresh food opportunities among members of their communities. Surveys of young people across the country have shown that children lack basic knowledge about how their food is produced. Many areas of our state have been labeled a ‘food desert’ by the USDA, meaning access to fresh foods is low. Community, charity, and school Gardens teach agricultural awareness and increase access to fresh foods.

Henderson County in western North Carolina has a population of over 120,000. Nearly 10% of these residents live in poverty. Many charities exist to provide those in need with necessities. Local community, charity, and school gardens donate vegetables to these local charities.

14 community gardens, 8 charity gardens, and 17 school gardens exist in Henderson County. The managers of these gardens work independently to educate children and adults about the benefits of vegetable gardening and to produce vegetables for the underprivileged. Henderson County Extension Agents and Extension Master Gardener Volunteers saw the need to identify, coordinate, and educate the many leaders of local community gardens. Efforts to provide leadership and to organize these garden leaders and to educate them in horticultural and public service have been ongoing. Two workshops have been held for garden leaders in Henderson County.


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