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Suffolk organization needs garden tools, seed donations

Volunteers plant seed in a community garden at Holland Baptist Church in Suffolk. (Photo Courtesy of Carol Warren)

By Bobbie Whitehead

A Suffolk organization that began planting two community gardens in March needs fruit and vegetable seed as well as gardening tool donations.

The Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community board established two community gardens, one at the East Suffolk Recreation Center and one at the Holland Baptist Church, last month to grow fruits and vegetables for residents facing economic challenges.

With its gardens underway, now that the weather is warmer, and planned garden expansions, the

organization and its volunteers need additional supplies.

“We are looking for people to donate see and gently used garden tools such as hoes and shovels or wheel barrows,” said Lakita Frazier, Suffolk Parks and Recreation director. “We’ve tilled our garden and added some topsoil.”

The first weekend in April, Frazier, who’s also a Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community board member, along with volunteers and others, began planting fruits and vegetables in the East Suffolk Recreation Center garden.

The Holland Baptist Church needs rakes, hoes, fruit and vegetable seeds as well, said Carol Warren, a Suffolk Partnership garden task force member.

“When we start harvesting the fruits and vegetables, we’ll be needing volunteers coordinating the delivery of the fruits and vegetables for transit,” Warren said.

The food raised at garden at Holland Baptist Church will go to the Southside Virginia Food Bank in Franklin, and the East Suffolk Recreation Center will develop criteria by utilizing the Social Services, the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and local churches for distributing food grown in the center’s garden, Frazier said.

The fresh fruits and vegetables will then serve low- and fixed-income residents.

“We’ll work with these agencies and local churches to identify the low-income and needy residents,” Frazier said. “We’re still in the development phase of the distribution.”

Suffolk Partnership board members, Kay Cherry and Rex Cotten, also Suffolk’s agricultural extension agent, spearheaded the community gardens project.

Some board members would like to see many more gardens, perhaps as many as 40.

“I’m always up for a challenge,” said Frazier, noting that 40 community gardens is a possibility in a city as large as Suffolk.

The Suffolk Community Garden Project grew out of the Suffolk health department and the Partnership for a Healthy Community initiative to revive gardening, according to Cotten.

For more information about the Suffolk Community Garden Project or to make a donation, call Lakita Frazier at 514-7250, Carol Warren at 657-2088, or Kay Cherry at 446-6122.