The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 9, 2014

Community garden to make future green in Mount Hope

By Brandi Underwood
Register-Herald Reporter

— Mount Hope residents soon will be able to demonstrate their collective green thumbs come spring by sharing in the opportunity to grow a community garden in the city’s downtown hub.

 According to Jean Evansmore, president of DuBois on Main, the museum is currently coordinating with agents from West Virginia State University Extension Service to erect a community garden on the former Van Burk lot behind American True Value Hardware.

Interested community members are invited to attend a presentation of WVSU Extension Service’s vision and upcoming plans for the garden at the DuBois on Main Museum on Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. The presentation will coincide with the national commemoration of Martin Luther King Day.

 West Virginia State Extension Agent Brad Cochran will talk with interested community members about their ideas for the garden, including preferences on what varieties of crops to grow and potential funding sources to pursue in order to ensure the garden’s fruitful future.    

Planning for the garden began in November when the garden property was officially allocated to the city by Mount Hope City Council.

“This garden will give residents of Mount Hope from all strokes of life an opportunity to work together, put their hands in the dirt and create something we can all benefit from,” said Evansmore. “Our goal is to plant the seed, unite the community and grow something healthy to put on the dinner table.”

Cochran explained that while the garden will serve to allow citizens to grow fresh vegetables for use in their homes, it will also create a beautiful green space in the community.

“The community garden project is a way for people in the community to help beautify their town, raise food for their families to eat and also become better acquainted with others living in their community,” Cochran said.

Cochran explained that the community’s input is critical in helping WVSU Extension Service design a garden layout that will best accommodate the needs of the community.

“We would like to start construction as soon as possible, but it is really dependent on funding sources coming through at this point. If all goes as planned, we’d like to initiate planting in May,” Cochran said.

Supplies and materials for the garden’s constructions will be gathered through local corporate sponsors, private donations and grant funding, Cochran explained.

The Mount Hope Community Garden will be the first of several projects to be proposed by the WVSU Extension Service in the City of Mount Hope.

“Our hope is that we can make kids a big part of this and impart to them that food comes from the ground and they can have a part in growing it,” Evansmore said. “There’s nothing like knowing that you had a hand in growing something for yourself.”

Attendees will be able to participate in breakout sessions after the presentation to put their heads together and discuss what they hope to see result from the garden’s construction, Evansmore added.

DuBois is located at 116 Main St. in Mount Hope. Call 304-578-7707 for more information.

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