SNOW HILL – A county-wide committee has agreed to work alongside area partners to support and expand three community gardens.
Last Tuesday, a newly formed planning committee met in Snow Hill to spearhead an initiative that will introduce or expand community gardens at various locations throughout Worcester County.
The Worcester County Health Department launched the initiative in September after several residents expressed a need and desire for community gardens at an annual public health conference held last April.
Kat Gunby, the health department’s prevention director and facilitator for the meeting, told the committee the goal is to select garden sites, partner with surrounding residents and seek funding to improve community garden options.
“What I would like to get out of this meeting is consensus of the sites that we would like to approach and who we need to partner with to get support to have gardens at the sites,” she said.
Ashley Godwin of Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) told Gunby a task force from the hospital was looking to build a community garden on its campus by next spring.
“We will be celebrating our 25th anniversary at the hospital so we want it to be another addition of us supporting the community by having it open next spring,” she said.
Gunby suggested the committee partner with AGH to create a community garden at the hospital while continuing their efforts to revive a defunct community garden along Flower Street in Berlin.
“Maybe in a year they will be invested enough to want to be a part of the committee to try and reinvest into the garden that isn’t in operation now,” she said.
Plans were also made to support existing community gardens at Snow Hill Elementary School (SHES) and downtown Pocomoke.
Both Mia Byrd and April Winterson, teachers at SHES, and Neelam Strom, founder of Pocomoke’s community garden, expressed a need for manpower and grant funding.
Byrd and Winterson said the school was looking for additional volunteers during the summer months and funding to build a sustainable water source near the garden.
Strom said she could use the health department’s grant writing abilities to seek funding for five additional gardening beds.
Gunby and the committee agreed to help the three community gardens.
“This is good,” Gunby said. “We are moving things forward.”