'Food is a language we all speak': Acworth opens community garden to city

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Sep. 2—ACWORTH — With towering okra and zinnias swaying in the heat, Acworth snipped the ribbon Thursday evening on a community garden that will feed the city for years to come.

The ceremony was long overdue, as the garden — tucked behind a parking lot down the street from the Roberts School Community Center — has already produced hundreds of pounds of produce for residents.

Lori Perkins, one of the volunteers who helps run the plot, said she began kicking around the idea for the garden during the pandemic, with work starting about a year ago. This summer was its first major harvest, yielding 739 pounds of fruits and vegetables as of Thursday.

All produce grown on the farm is donated to senior citizens across the city.

"Food is a language we all speak," said Allie Soranno, Perkins' daughter and co-organizer.

Sorrano said the garden isn't just a food source for residents, but a tool to teach sustainability and ecology. On a recent afternoon, she recalled, she sat with a group of students in the garden to observe the manifold pollinators making use of the garden's blooms.

The garden — except for its chain-link fence — was constructed entirely by volunteers, much of it with reclaimed and recycled materials, and it practices "no till" gardening in which old plants are allowed to decompose back into the soil, rather than be removed.

Acworth's garden was also designated the 999th stop on the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, an international network of gardens which provide safe havens for Monarchs and other butterflies.

Residents who want to support the garden can provide volunteer time or materials. But most of all, said Soranno with a laugh, "We need money." Those interested in supporting can contact Perkins at acworthcommunitygarden@gmail.com.