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Charleston Parks Conservancy Receives Publix Charities Grant to Support Its Community Garden Program

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The Charleston Parks Conservancy has received a $5,000 grant from Publix Super Market Charities to support its community garden program. 

This month, Publix Super Markets Charities is donating $5.5 million to 300 Feeding America member food banks and other nonprofit organizations as part of their ongoing support to alleviate hunger and help local communities within Publix’s operating area.

The Conservancy currently manages three community gardens:

  • Corrine Jones Park and Community Garden in downtown Charleston

  • Magnolia Park and Community Garden in West Ashley

  • Medway Park and Community Garden on James Island

In each community garden, beds are available for the public to lease and grow their own produce. Additional community beds are used for education and demonstration. Volunteers help harvest the produce from those beds, which is donated to local food pantries and community organizations. So far in 2021, the Conservancy has donated 2,561 pounds of produce.

Since the Conservancy’s Grow It Forward program launched in 2014, produce has been grown in more than 35 community beds, supporting neighbors who are dealing with food insecurity. The produce harvested from these beds is donated to community partners, including Destiny Community Cafe, Stone Soup Collective, Lowcountry Food Bank, One180Place and James Island Outreach as well to organizations focused on critical illnesses, such as Amor Healing Kitchen.

In 2020, the Conservancy began working with organizations serving the community, including the Eastside Community Development Corporation and the Friends of Joseph Floyd Manor.

More than 19,000 pounds of produce have been donated to these organizations over the last seven years.

“Our community gardens are an integral part of our work to create stronger neighborhoods, promote healthy living and provide fresh produce to local food pantries,” said Tom McGuire, the Conservancy’s executive director. “Through this program, community members can grow their own food in a public park, learn about urban horticulture, and donate fresh produce to those battling food insecurity in our community. We’re tremendously grateful to Publix Super Markets Charities for recognizing the important role community gardens play in fighting hunger.”

Through a public-private partnership model, the Conservancy works with the city’s Parks Department as well as community leaders, neighborhoods and engaged citizens to transform and activate the city’s parks and green spaces. The Conservancy and its Park Angel volunteers actively maintain more than 20 city parks and gardens.

To learn more about the Conservancy and its community garden program, visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.

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