Elizabeth McCravy regularly walked by the empty lot with her two daughters. The lot, located on Beaver Street, just off of Spruill Avenue on the outskirts of Park Circle, needed a makeover. "Right now it's just a fence, some swinging vines, and trash," McCravy says. "But what I envision is something that will get the whole community involved with to clean up and keep up."
Her solution? A community garden. She passed her idea on to others. The prospect of a community garden immediately created interest. "I'm getting e-mails and being contacted by people everywhere. My initial e-mail about the community garden has been sent and resent and is reaching so many more people than I had imagined. Everyone seems to be really excited and wanting to get involved," McCravy says.
Litter is one of the obstacles to overcome in this garden makeover. There are other concerns to consider, like the fertility of the soil and figuring out how volunteering and land division will work. "If the soil isn't usable, we would raise the beds and we would need to get the frames and the soil," says McCravy.
And then there's the final and, perhaps, biggest hurdle, financing the project. "Right now it's just me and my family working on our shoestring budget," McCravy says.
The layout for the land and economics of the garden haven't been finalized, but this eager North Charleston mom has come up with a plan. "I was thinking chickens in the back and a greenhouse in the front. I've got a lot of seeds so we would start our own seeds, and anything else left over [from the volunteers' share] we would sell," McCravy explains.
The land for growing the garden would take up half of the double lot, with a section planned to become an area just for children, where they can plant and grow their own seeds. Other plots would be for produce and flowers with the idea of having privately sponsored areas where groups or families could have their own produce. "Instead of driving 10 miles to the store, you can go right around the corner and get your tomatoes," McCravy says.
There's still much work to be done. But to jump-start the process, McCravy is holding a garden clean up with Clean City Sweeps from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on April 24 at the lot. If you or someone you know is interested in helping with the Community Garden, whether by planting and building or donating, contact McCravy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Anyone who's interested in donating anything, from chickens, tools, soil, building parts, or knowledge would be appreciated," she says.