Here’s what Roanoke’s investment of $180,000 into community gardens means for your area

We took your questions to the LEAP Community Gardens Manager

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

ROANOKE, Va. – LEAP community gardens are getting $180,000 from Roanoke City.

We first told you about the investment on Virginia Today on Thursday and many of you had questions about what that means for your area.

We took your questions to the LEAP Community Gardens Manager, Davey Rogner Stewards.

Through the American Recovery Plan Act, LEAP received money to support infrastructure improvements at its various garden sites. Stewards said:

  • They are putting substantial investment into a complete overhaul that will include a fence, new garden beds, perennial edibles at both Hurt Park Community Garden and Morningside Community Garden.
  • Morningside will also be receiving a pavilion within the garden for associated workshops.
  • Mountain View Community Garden is expanding its bed capacity for growing.

“We are also planning to build a new community garden in West End associated with LEAP’s new office space, community food market and CSA packaging space,” said Stewards. “We are also sharing some of these funds with other groups in the city, including Lick Run Farm in Northwest, Goodwill Garden in Northwest and George Washington Carver Garden in Northwest.”

LEAP said they plan to double the number of plots in the community gardens, meaning more people can rent a plot to grow what they want.

He said within the garden network group, they are having conversations about how to create a community tool rental program where people can rent tools to plant their own gardens at home.

“We are also discussing how to promote all the activities at gardens collaboratively,” said Stewards. “These funds were distributed to LEAP over winter, but we will be phasing in all of these infrastructures over the 2022 and 2023 growing seasons. So it will be a lot of gradual improvements.”

LEAP is hosting a Roanoke community garden network meeting Tuesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at LEAP’s office space on 2750 Hoover St NW. Stewards said this is where more people can have input on how the money is spent.

LEAP is also hosting a large volunteer day Saturday, March 26 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at either the Hurt Park or Morningside community garden.

In addition, Stewards is working on building a new garden at the Envision Center in Landsdowne, as well as starting the city’s first compost facility, but this is outside of American Recovery Plan Act funding.

If you’re interested in registering for a plot at a LEAP community garden, click here.

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.