BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Whether you have a green thumb or interest in gardening, the Highlands community is opening Birmingham’s first community garden this week.
Organizers tell CBS 42 the project has been in the works since 2016.
“We had a group of people who were interested in doing something gardening-related back in 2016,” Tori McDonald, co-founder and garden committee president said. “They wanted to do something to pull the community together.”
Highlands community members wanted a space where they could build the area up and get to know their neighbors better in such a busy neighborhood.
McDonald got together with other neighbors and drew up a blueprint of the garden that would replace the unused volleyball court in William J. Rushton Sr. Park in the Highland area. Once the plan was in motion, community partners jumped on board. The design of the garden plots was created by Architecture Works and Brasfield and Gorrie helped construct the garden.
“The amount of participation from the neighborhood and some partners in the community really took this raw idea and brought the beauty of this,” Reverend David Seamon said.
Seamon is a pastor at Independent Presbyterian Church. The church is also one of the community groups helping make the community garden happen.
The Highland Park Community Garden will be the first of its kind in the city of Birmingham. Birmingham Park and Recreation said in a press release that the community garden turned out to be more than they imagined.
“The achievement of this community garden is reason enough to celebrate the enthusiasm, creativity, and passion of residents and corporate partners when planning for parks that meet the needs of the community,” Shonae’ Eddins-Bennett director of Birmingham Park and Recreation, said.
There are 19 garden plots, but almost 100 people are already registered for the chance at a plot. Because of its high attraction, organizers are planning a plot lottery to give neighbors a chance to start a garden in one of the plots.
There will be a ribbon-cutting at Rushton Park on Friday, March 6, at 11 a.m. to celebrate the new addition to the city. It will also celebrate the partnership between the city of Birmingham, the Highland Park Neighborhood Association and Independent Presbyterian Church.
Everyone who signs up to possibly score a garden plot will enter a drawing. Nineteen names will be drawn and those winners will be able to pay $35 for a raised garden plot from March 16 to the end of October. Then, there will be a re-drawing for the 20 plots; the cycle repeats.
In addition to neighbors who are interested in gardening their own plots, there are many who have also reached out to learn more about the hobby.
“We’ve also had a lot of people who are not registered for a plot who’ve asked how they could get involved as far as classes or particularly composting, everybody’s interested in having a community compost,” McDonald said.
They are hoping to start garden classes as soon as April for those who are interested.
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