Charlotte Library Edible Gardens
For the second year in a row, the Charlotte Library and Transition Town Charlotte teamed up to host Edible Gardens on land adjacent to the Charlotte Library building. The initial goal was to meet the "Transition US May Challenge" but the project has grown into a community-based, neighbor-driven source of food and garden inspiration. In 2012, we began with a potato garden that benefitted local chefs at the first annual "Spud Fest" and local families with a significant donation to the Charlotte Food Shelf. In the spring of 2013, we started a second mulched potato bed; we planted tomatoes of all varieties and built a green bean teepee in the old bed to expand our gardening prospects.
Throughout the summer library visitors of all ages enjoyed cherry tomatoes, fresh from the vine or as a treat at the circulation desk. Rattlesnake pole beans and larger heirloom tomatoes were harvested regularly during the season to fill Charlotte Food Shelf baskets going to over 35 families in our community. In addition, children enrolled in the library's summer reading program, "Dig Into Reading," helped to tend the garden, decorated the green bean teepee and built some whimsical fairy houses to keep the gardens company.
At fall harvest time, volunteers dug up several baskets of potatoes for donation to the local food shelf, along with the remaining vine tomatoes. Bean seeds were dried and packed up for the Charlotte Seed Library to be re-planted here and in gardens around town. The fall garden session also included removal of non-native Japanese barberry shrubs, making room for blueberries and other edibles targeted for spring 2014 planting.
Besides the children and families who directly benefitted from the Edible Gardens, we believe the entire town of Charlotte gained from cooperative and nutritional opportunities afforded by our library garden.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
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Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA