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Blacksburg accepts land donation, preserves community garden

Post Date:07/11/2019 4:51 PM

Just off Maywood Street in Blacksburg is the five-acre Hale Community Garden, donated to the town by long-time resident Arlean Hale Lambert this week. Consisting of more than 70 plots, the Hale garden has been a growing and gathering space for the town and university for the past 10 years. 

“The survival of natural open spaces and community gardens depends on people understanding their value.  I’m thankful I live in a community that wants to ensure that these gardens flourish for generations to come,” said Lambert. The Community Garden will be part of the town’s current park inventory totaling 517 acres. 

Going forward, the garden will be managed by local coordinator, Jenny Schwanke, and the non-profit, Live, Work, Eat, Gather Inc., (LWEG). LWEG is known for their leadership and vision on the revitalization of the old Price’s Fork Elementary School, a project bringing together diverse community partners to support affordable housing, economic development, and local food access for residents of the New River Valley.

“We’re very excited to help support Ms. Lambert’s legacy of a vibrant, robust, community garden in Blacksburg,” said Kevin Byrd, President of Live, Work, Eat, Grow, Inc., and Executive Director of the NRV Regional Commission. “Community Gardens increase the availability of nutritious foods, strengthen community ties, reduce food miles, and create a more sustainable system.” 

The Hale Community Garden is a gem in that it provides a low cost option for local gardening and throughout the years has been the site for many university capstone projects and thousands of hours of community engagement. In addition to the community plots, the garden includes common areas such as a food forest project, small apple orchard, asparagus patch, herb garden, and flowers, all tended by community members and the Master Gardeners Club. In the colder months the Roper Solar Greenhouse provides ideal conditions for indoor vegetable gardening. 

“Ms. Lambert’s generosity ensures that this valuable property is preserved and protected within the town’s Parks and Recreation system for future generations. We look forward to our continued partnership with LWEG and appreciate the contributions our citizens are making to create a strong, local food source,” said Deputy Town Manager for Community Development, Chris Lawrence.

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