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Macon County Community Garden Assistance

The 2013 update to the River Valley Regional Commission’s regional plan identified several needs and opportunities related to both local agricultural programs as well as community gardens in the region. An issue identified as a Community Facilities issue is the “Need for community gardens to help with access to fresh food issues in our rural cities.” Further reinforcing this, a land use issue identified states that the region is “Lacking of community gardens to help with access to fresh food produce in our rural cities.” Additionally, a work program item states that the RC will support “… providing fresh foods to seniors within the region….”

In order to address these issues and to implement various activities within its regional plan, the RV RC worked with its Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to plan and coordinate a community garden project for Macon County (2014). The AAA received a grant in order to do this. Between August 2014 and January 2015, the Macon County Community Garden Association was formed, bi-monthly meetings took place, materials were purchased, soil was tested, an irrigation system was designed and planter boxes constructed. Various members of the community donated their time, money, and resources (one local vendor donated a $2,000 shed), and the ribbon-cutting took place at the end of January. A number of local farmers donate their time and resources for garden upkeep. The garden association charges seasonal membership dues and a treasurer keeps track of the funds they raise.

This project exemplifies successful public-private partnership and community involvement. It involved the River Valley Regional Commission, the RV AAA, Georgia Aging Services, City of Oglethorpe, UGA Cooperative Extension Office, several local businesses, the RVRC, and members of the Macon County community. This project is replicable across the state.


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