Often times, when volunteers think about urban agriculture with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, they think of the wonderful programs we have to offer in Wake County. From our Hoke Street Urban Agriculture Training Center, to our eight-acre Tryon Road Teaching Farm, to our relationship with the Raleigh Food Corridor, the Oak City has so much to offer in the way of community engagement projects around growing healthy, organic food in urban spaces. What many people might not know, however, is that right down the road in Durham, N.C. Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is also busy planting, growing, harvesting, teaching, and feeding communities across the Bull City through the Langley Community Garden.
For a number of years, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle partnered with community groups across downtown to manage the West End Community Garden, located at 707 Kent Street. As many residents know, that site is now under construction to make way for the new Kent Street Development Project. In this area of Durham, all of the buzz centers around the anticipated opening of the Durham Central Market Co-op (scheduled for early 2015).
A new home in Durham
Because of this exciting development in late 2013, the West End Community Garden needed a new home base. With the help of the West End and Lyon Park Neighborhood Associations, Self Help Credit Union, members of the community, and the South West Central Durham Quality of Life Project the garden was relocated to an already existing garden space at 1212 Kent Street!
The Langley Community Garden site was chosen primarily for its vicinity to the West End and Lyon Park neighborhoods, but also because of its rich history. As all native residents remember, the garden site now sits on what once was the home of the Langley Family, who still reside in the surrounding neighborhood today. When the house was torn down, and the land was left open, it made a perfect space for a new community garden location.
Garden on the Grow
At the beginning of March 2014 the garden received a much needed delivery of fresh cut lumber for more raised garden beds. Both Inter-Faith Food Shuttle staff and members of the neighborhood association advised this up fit of the garden.
The garden is still being built throughout this growing season, but it is successfully growing lots of delicious vegetables and flowers for others to enjoy. Many Langley family members, and other neighbors in the community, visit the garden on a regular basis. Many visitors come to enjoy a shady, quiet place to sit and relax. Other interested neighbors stop in for a tour of the garden, a place to donate plants, volunteer hours, or just to say hello.
Training the next generation
The best part about the Langley Garden is not just its lush, quiet space but the amazing dedication of its four, high school interns. Keo Ksor, Serina Akins, Chamiya Edwards, and LaDajia Philip are all members of the West End and Lyon Park neighborhoods and participate in the Partners for Youth (PFY) mentoring program. The Langley Community Garden Internship was created this year based on the interest from these four students and the PFY program. This quartet serves as liaisons for both IFFS and their surrounding neighborhood. Under the tutelage of Eliza Bordley, IFFS Durham Urban Agriculture Coordinator, these four young, dedicated growers are not only learning important urban farming and gardening knowledge, but also skills in building and design, community engagement, and produce distribution.
You can get involved with Langley Community Garden
On Monday and Wednesday afternoons and early Saturday mornings, you can stop by the garden to meet the newest Inter-Faith Food Shuttle interns (just email Eliza directly first at email@example.com). The Langley Community Garden also offers public workdays 1-3 times per week, throughout the months of March-October.
Inter-Faith food Shuttle also has two other urban gardens in Durham that are always open to accommodating volunteer groups of almost any size. We welcome you to come out and get your hands dirty, meet members of your community, and work along side our new urban farmers! For more information on these workdays please check out our volunteer page at http://foodshuttle.org/how-to-help/volunteer-opportunities/!
By Eliza Bordley, IFFS Durham Urban Agriculture Coordinator. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org