The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday January 20th

Carrboro Community Garden faces closure

The fate of a community garden in Carrboro is up in the air while the county debates where to locate its next library.

The Carrboro Community Garden, located at 1120 Hillsborough Road, helps make organic food more accessible to Carrboro families and to encourage local children to eat healthily.

But the garden’s Saturday work sessions may not last forever.

The garden might be closed if the town’s Board of Aldermen chooses the site for a new library — but Melissa Kohout, a gardener, said she is optimistic the space will stay green.

“The garden has been great,” said Kohout. “The Carrboro Community Garden is one of the sites for the new library, so it may be shut down, and that would make me sad. There are three sites planned, so it may not go through, so it is not a done deal yet.”

The county is currently considering three Carrboro locations for its southern branch library: 1128 Hillsborough Road, 401 Fidelity Road and 120 Brewer Lane.

On Oct. 8, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen said its first choice for the county’s library is on Brewer Lane, but the Board of Orange County Commissioners has not officially opted to use that site.

Kohout said the garden helps her family get fresh and healthy vegetables without having to worry about costs.

“Another reason that we get it is because I love Trader Joe’s, but I can’t buy all of my food from there,” Kohout said. “It is too expensive. This way, I’m able to keep fresh vegetables in the house every week. There is something that we can pick all the time.”

She said she does not want the garden to be replaced because her kids love working there.

Families work in the garden every Saturday, and the participants take home fresh, organic food in exchange for their help.

Maria Hitt, the community garden director, said she was inspired to create the garden by campaigns aimed at childhood obesity.

“Kids that are out in the gardens are much more likely to eat (the vegetables),” Hitt said. “We know that when kids start eating vegetables, they keep eating them.”

There are two sections of the gardens. One is for anyone in the local community to plant and the other section is divided into specific sections so certain families are able to plant what they want.

“Each family gets their own 10 by 10 foot parcel. They can do whatever they want — plant whatever they want,” Hitt said. “There is a yearly $20 donation, but the people keep everything they grow. We do make a small donation to the (Inter-Faith Council’s Homestart) women’s shelter with the donations given, so the garden helps the whole community in many ways.”

Nina Simonini, a junior at UNC and a volunteer at the garden, said she loves volunteering with all of the kids because they actually enjoy working in the garden.

“I think a lot of the kids that work in the garden know a lot more about planting and gardening than students at this University,” said Simonini.

She said the children also can work on craft projects and play games — activities intended to keep them active and outdoors.

“The kids were so excited,” Kohout said. “They made a sign and named the garden. They like to go and see what is growing and digging in the soil.”

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