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'I am grateful': Sparta woman buys, donates land to start community garden

Blessed Acre is home to kale, peaches, corn, blueberries and more.

SPARTA, Ga. — Dreams are coming true in Hancock County for a woman who has always wanted a community garden.

Just a few months ago, the land now known as Blessed Acre was empty.

Last year, Vonda Garrison fell in love with the plot next to her home.

"It was so cool and my dogs would run around and play, and I just kept feeling like this lot needed to be something special," said Garrison.

The land was on sale and she wanted to bring her love for gardening to her neighbors in Sparta.

"I always wanted to teach people how to plant their own food," said Garrison. "How it would bring this community together and how also I could continue that tradition in our family of gardening."

So, she bought the land, donated it and started a community garden with the help of DREAM Streets Sparta project manager Karen West.

"I am a Christian," said Garrison. "So, I sat their in my chair and I said, 'Lord if you let us buy this lot,' I will donate it and everything in this property will be done in your honor."

"It's not just a garden. It's not just a place for fruit and vegetables and flowers. It's a place to come together," said West.

Ashkea Lewi's son Lennox is already busy eating strawberries. 

"When you see the qualities or the gifts stirred up in your child, you try to get every resource available to them, and I see the garden as a resources to him. I am grateful for the garden," said Lewis.

According to Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, Sparta is food insecure, meaning folks lack access to affordable fruits and vegetables in the area.

So, this community garden has a historical and traditional significance in this community.

"As you know, the world is kind of shaky right now, and our food supply is really shaky," said Garrison. "So, it's important to understand the fundamentals of how to grow our own food."

The project isn't stopping here. They plan to start another community garden this fall, just south of Sparta. 

You can find Blessed Acre at the corner of Boland Street and Adam Street, near downtown Sparta and next to IGA.

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