Student volunteers get Roanoke community garden plots ready after big investment

Roanoke just invested $180,000 into community gardens across the city

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City is investing thousands of dollars into community gardens across the city.

“Our school does a lot of community projects and this was just one fun thing that they decided to do,” said Natalie Escalera, a 10th grader.

She came with other students from Cornerstone Classical Academy to volunteer at the LEAP Community Garden on Campbell Avenue.

“These gardens have been at capacity for the last two years. There’s a variety of gardening groups that have been springing up around the city and in the area. Everybody’s focused on food resiliency, how do we grow more in our community?” said Davey Rogner Stewards, the community gardens manager for LEAP.

Stewards says Roanoke just invested $180,000 into community gardens across the city with money from the American Recovery Act.

“So the city of Roanoke is very supportive of seeing these community gardens really become a lifeblood of food and resiliency in our communities,” he said.

The Campbell Ave. community garden gets some work from local students to get ready for spring. (Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

There are a number of different community gardens in the city.

“We have a program where people can rent out a plot like this for $30 a year and will help provide the compost. We have a lot of seeds we’ve gotten donated so you can get seeds from us,” said Stewards.

He also leads volunteer days to get people involved.

“We’re taking out a lot of the chicken wire that’s like all messed up and taking out the old boards and putting in new ones,” said Escalera.

Other students were moving plants to new plant beds and weeding to get ready for the next planting season.

“It was cool to hear him talk about it and who uses the gardens and how practical they are and stuff like that,” said Teresa Jamison, who is in 11th grade and volunteered. “Just helping out the community and people who might use the garden in the future. It’s neat to be a part of that.”

You can apply now to get a plot for the year at this link.

About the Author

You can see Jenna weekday mornings at the anchor desk on WSLS 10 Today from 5-7 a.m. She also leads our monthly Solutionaries Series, where we highlight the creative thinkers and doers working to make the world a better place.

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