By Suzanne Montgomery
Rain and foggy weather did little Saturday to dampen the enthusiasm of the gardeners and O Grows staff as the spring season got underway at Opelika’s new Community Garden location at 1103 Glenn Street in Opelika.
Moved from across the street and in front of the Southside Center for the Arts to just behind the renovated school building, students from Auburn University and the Jeter School Opelika Learning Center were busy putting finishing touches on the new garden space. Under the direction of Dr. Sean Forbes of Auburn University, the Community Garden has medium and large growing spaces for experienced and novice gardeners alike. The entire garden is fenced, tilled, fertilized and ready for planting.
With funds from a grant, the addition of a spacious greenhouse next to the garden allows students from the Opelika Learning Center to acquire the skill of growing and caring for plants. Students also learn about building construction and restaurant hospitality; career preparation platforms which will encourage lifelong learning and promote civic engagement. Future plans for a certified commercial kitchen, within the Southside Center for the Arts, will allow students and those interested in culinary products for sale at local establishments to rent the kitchen at an affordable rate.
“So many agencies are really coming together in the community to make this all possible” said Dr. Forbes. “It will be good for the Opelika community since we are dovetailing this effort with the Carver and Jeter community projects, Forbes added. The Opelika City Schools, The Food Bank of East Alabama, Keep Opelika Beautiful and Auburn University have been strategic in moving the Community Garden project forward.
Anyone interested in renting space within the community garden can contact Keep Opelika Beautiful at firstname.lastname@example.org or J.B. Harris at email@example.com.