$3,000 Project Grant Recipient
Growing COB strives to empower communities, low-income households and schools by improving health through ensuring access to sustainable gardens, fresh food, and nutrition education. Community gardens are an important part of its work.
CBFSC grant will help beautify gardens for visitors
COB will use the CBFSC grant to expand its garden at Samaritan House. They will increase from seven to nine raised beds that provide produce to homeless residents living at the Samaritan House as well as additional community members in need. Hay bales, soil, mushroom compost, etc. will be needed to add the bed. Some of the funds will be used to help update the garden, replacing some older wooden beds with aluminum ones.
Funds could also be used to beautify other areas including Cummings Park in Denmark (Bamberg County); Ehrhardt Town Hall (Bamberg County); and near the Boys and Girls Club in Cordova (Orangeburg County) .
Growing COB would love for the gardens to be more visually appealing to attract more people to this work as they begin to explore the area of community gardening as a means of healthy food access.
Community gardens are a major component of Growing COB
Growing COB aids communities in starting and sustaining community gardens. The group distributes fresh produce and provides nutrition education.
Target populations: low-income, minority groups, people with chronic diseases, youth, and seniors. Growing COB has gardens at the Regional Medical Center (+RMC) in Orangeburg Cummings Park in Denmar; Cordova; Ehrhardt; and at South Carolina State University (SCSU) in Orangeburg.
The produce at the garden at the +RMC goes to cancer patients. The produce at the SCSU garden is supplemented by gleaning from local farmers, Harvest Hope Food Bank, community members and sometimes FoodShare-Orangeburg.
The Cummings Park Garden in Denmark was strategically placed across the street from a multi-unit HUD facility in a local park.
Growing COB has supplemented the produce grown in this garden with donations from local growers and Golden Harvest Food Bank. This has allowed Growing COB to feed over 100 families at one produce distribution event.
In the town of Ehrhardt, Growing COB was able to feed about 10% of the town’s population from using the produce in the garden as well has a donation from a local grower. Ehrhardt is the smallest community that Growing COB works with, yet it has the largest garden.
The town of Cordova has a garden that supplies produce distributions that take place at the local Boys & Girls Club where the group has been able to supply over a hundred families at one distribution.
Outside partners help COB with its mission
This community project will include outside partnerships. Growing COB has had conversations with Orangeburg Fine Arts about collaborating to do garden beautification. Growing COB also has strong ties with the Bamberg County Community Rural Arts Work League (CRAWL) which is the Bamberg County arm of the SC Arts Commission and the Art of Community: Rural SC initiative. Members from both organizations are active members of Growing COB.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Community Systems Team, Tri-County Health Network, and Regional Medical Center will also be involved. Orangeburg Fine Arts will help carry out this work in the Orangeburg County community gardens (i.e. South Carolina State University, Cordova and Kingdom Life Ministries).
The Community Rural Arts Work League (CRAWL) will help carryout the work in the Bamberg County community gardens (i.e. the Town of Ehrhardt and Cummings Park in Denmark). Both organizations can put Growing COB in touch with local artists. Growing COB will also work directly with the SC Arts Commission.
Some of the funds provided by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are being used to leverage more funds from the Arts Commission to support art projects in the community.
Growing COB would like to:
- Add signage to the gardens to include the name of the garden aw well as the Growing COB logo
- Design and purchase directional yard signs for Growing COB Produce Distribution Days that can be placed near the road to promote Growing COB events to drivers and to guide community members in the right direction
- Host Community Engagement Days at the various community gardens where community members will help to beautify the gardens by painting the raised beds; creating signage that labels where the fruits/vegetables are being grown; painting the rainwater barrels, sheds, etc.; and creating miscellaneous art to showcase in the gardens.
- Purchase a tent, tables, and a customized tablecloth as well as printed materials with the Growing COB logo so that the community members will recognize the organization at various community functions. These items will also give Growing COB a polished and professional look.
CBFSC can help us with more than money
Growing COB would love for churches to join in on this project. Members of the Growing COB Leadership Team believe that churches are the backbone of public health and are excellent vessels for community building. The group recently began a garden at Kingdom Life Ministries in Orangeburg.
This was Growing COB’s first church garden and the group is looking forward to doing more church gardens in the future.
Building gardens, building communities
Growing COB has been told on many occasions that it does not just build community gardens, but helps to build communities. The group is not very top heavy and focuses mainly on grassroots efforts and community engagement.
Engaging the community makes community members feel ownership of the community gardens which makes them feel welcome to become a part of the group and to harvest from the gardens whenever they want.
To sustain the work of the organization, Growing COB continues to look for in-kind services, materials and space to provide services to the community.
The board of directors is committed to donations, services and fundraising to ensure that goals are met. Board members are Ashley Page, Lashandra Morgan, A’Netra Hardy, and Deborah Jamison.
Donate Today or Get Involved
If you and/or your church can volunteer, contact Growing COB.