published Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Crabtree Farms offers workshop on community gardens

Crabtree Farms, 1000 E. 30th St., is offering its fifth annual Community Garden Start-up Workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.

The interactive workshop will teach the basics of successful community gardening, from site planning and building to fundraising, growing vegetables and raising community support.

Participants will get advice from Crabtree's urban farmers, see spring vegetable seedlings up close and share tips with fellow gardeners.

"Beginning gardeners and seasoned growers alike will learn something new at the workshop," says Andrea Jaeger, programs coordinator.

Crabtree Farms used to have community garden plots on-site, but in 2008 the farm started using the land for its own production in response to the increased demand for its fresh produce. The compromise has been to offer community garden workshops, education materials such as the Community Garden Resource Guide and consultations.

"We've seen the power of community gardens to improve the quality of life for participating gardeners," says Joel Houser, executive director. "Families have greater access to fresh foods, they spend less money growing the food than they would at the grocery store, and they meet and engage with their neighbors in a healthy, positive way."

According to Crabtree statistics, Chattanooga now has more than 25 community garden sites and more are sprouting up each year.

Workshop fees are based on a sliding scale between $50 and $100. Space is limited. To register, visit www.crabtreefarms.org.

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