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Community helps build garden for Harrisonburg neighborhood residents

The Kelley Street Garden creates a space for residents to grow their own garden and produce.
Kelley Street Garden in Harrisonburg
Kelley Street Garden in Harrisonburg(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 17, 2021 at 9:02 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Community volunteers of all ages helped assemble the Kelley Street Garden in Harrisonburg on Saturday.

Residents of the Harrison heights neighborhood will be able to use one of 11 garden beds to grow their own produce.

The idea for a residential garden started in 2019 when the Harrisonburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority saw an interest from the community.

The housing authority worked with James Madison University’s Dining Services to secure grant funding from Aramark, but the project was put on pause due to the pandemic.

“Because of COVID and some other things, that got delayed. So, we kind of picked back up the torch late 2020 and began reaching out to community partners, many of which are here today and we’re launching today,” Everett Brubaker, Resident Services and Communications Coordinator for the Harrisonburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority, said.

It was all hands on deck Saturday morning to get the garden beds assembled.

Volunteers from multiple organizations had a hand in the project including Jones Garden, a new non-profit that works to create gardens throughout the Valley.

“Health is a huge thing, and food in [particular] can effect your health in many ways. Especially for lower income families that might not have access to fresh, full-service markets that provide all of the fresh produce, it is important for us to go into those areas and place gardens so they can have access to it and that they can live healthier lives,” Naomi Jones, with the organization, said.

Angelica Caraballo and her family will have one of the 11 garden beds in the Kelley Street Garden.

Caraballo said her son Justice and her nephew Jordan cannot wait to start digging.

“My son, he’s the green thumb,” Caraballo said. “He’s ready. He’s even bought little figurines to put inside of them, like fairies and woodlands and stuff like that. He seems excited about it,” Caraballo said.

Caraballo said this is a great way bring kids outside and have some fun.

“Honestly with corona and everything happening, it’s more or less something they can do. There has been a lot of things that have been restricted from,” Caraballo said.

There will be monthly educational events in the garden by Central Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners, and Brubaker said the ideas are flowing for even more events in the future.

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