South Cobb garden aims to share nature's bounty

Jan. 12—POWDER SPRINGS — South Cobb welcomed a new community garden this week — or, at least, the beginnings of one.

A coalition of agricultural, gardening, and healthcare groups gathered off Powder Springs Road at the Cobb County Farm Bureau offices. There, partners broke ground on a garden that's intended to help out with food insecurity and healthier living.

The Wellness Garden, as it will be known, so far is simply a lawn next to the Farm Bureau with a few posts sunk for a fence. But it will one day feature 15 garden beds — each 12 feet by four feet — along with a pollinator garden and hoop house.

Unlike some community gardens, which are merely shared spaces for residents to grow their own produce, the Wellness Garden will be geared specifically toward providing food to those in need and spreading the word on how to use locally-grown produce.

"The other idea is to educate people on what to do with the food when they get it," said Stan Kirk, head of the Cobb Farm Bureau. "So, you give somebody an eggplant. I can ask half the people in this room what to do with an eggplant — my son said, I'd just throw it away," he joked.

To that end, volunteers alongside nutritionists from Wellstar Health System — one of the partners in the venture — will be holding classes in the Farm Bureau offices on healthy cooking and eating. Other partners include the Cobb County Conservation District, the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County, and Cobb EMC, which is helping to financially support the effort.

Renae Lemon, one of the master gardeners, has been involved in several community gardens throughout the county including one which opened in Acworth this summer. She said the group has been meeting regularly to plan the Powder Springs garden since June, with the hope of starting to get plants in the ground this Spring.

"There's so much more that goes into it before you break ground. We've been meeting once a month since June just to talk about — where do we want the fence? What kind of material do we want the fence to be? Where's our water source? Do we have an electric source? Where does the sun rise, where does the sun set? All these kind of gardening things, you have to talk about before you even do what we did today," Lemon said.

"The end result of this garden is to be able to not only educate, but to be able to make a difference in the areas of south Cobb that are a food desert," she added.

To get there, Kirk said, the garden plans to apply for grants in the coming months and years, but he reminded attendees private donations are always helpful.

Interested residents can find the Wellness Garden at 2850 Powder Springs Road, just southwest of the East-West Connector, and learn more on its Facebook page, "The Wellness Garden at Cobb County Farm Bureau."