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Community Garden Takes Root

Snellville is looking at starting a community garden at Briscoe Park.

It's not much now: a grassy plot with a brown spot here or there, trees providing minimal shading, a less-than-traveled parking lot off to the side. But, eventually visitors to will see a flourshing community garden where barren land once sat. 

That is, if Kurt and Gretchen Schulz have anything to say about it.

Residents of Snellville for nearly 40 years, the couple is organizing a group of volunteers to work on the idea. Not only are they hoping to bring low-cost, nutritious food to more residents, but also it could be a place that simply brings the community and families together. 

"I'd like to see it bring together Snellville," Kurt Schulz said. "Hopefully this will be something all through the week you'll start meeting your neighbors.

"I'm not so much interested in producing these prized tomatoes or anything. Just a neat place to be able to go and get together with friends, neighbors -- meet more people. Get your hands dirty."

They will need construction materials, irrigation, gardening tools, plants and seeds, a willing public and security measures: "We don't want it be a place where kids come and have tomato fights at night," said Gretchen Schulz, 63, as she and her husband took a brief walk to the site.

, with more than 150 dotting the landscape, according to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The food bank helps track and cultivate new gardens in Atlanta, providing education and assistance to neighborhood green thumbs.

To help in the Snellville effort, Kurt and Gretchen Schulz have visited Oakhurst Garden in Decatur, as well as the A key organizer of the community garden in Suwanee was actually their daughter.

They are also hoping for sponsorships, and have brought on a master gardener and beekeeper who are willing to help. Kurt Schulz, 64, plans to use his landscaping background to help build the raised plots.

Initially, it could be 20-30 beds. The plots will be available for rental on an annual basis. There will be a plot rental fee to cover expenses for garden maintenance. 

Members of the community garden would have to apply, but once they have a plot, they will be able to grow all kinds of fruits, veggies and herbs. Members would also be responsible for upkeep of their plots. It'd be perfect for families, school classrooms, neighbors, friends, and more.

Perhaps, if food is in abundance, the growers could also give some of the food away, said the Schulz's, who have been married for 41 years.

In the future, the Schulz's would also like to have a pavilion of sorts for classroom instruction and other educational programs. A little playground for children is also a possibility.

"I can't wait to see what our talented group of volunteers is going to create as Snellville's community garden, " said council member Tom Witts, who plans to work with the group. "It will certainly be something that will make us proud.  That I assure you."

Now that the Schulz's are retired, helping with the community garden is something they are glad to be doing. They also helped with the

"We kind of feel like this is the decade of our life that maybe we'll be able to give something back to Snellville," Gretchen Schulz said. 

The first committee meeting of volunters will be in late October. Interested members of the community are invited to complete an online survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SnellvilleCommunityGardens

Crystal Huskey October 19, 2011 at 02:12 PM
That's really cool! I would definitely be interested.
Darla Dixon October 19, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Really nice article, Joy! The Schulz's are great folks.
Joy L. Woodson October 19, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Thanks Darla!
Michelle Couch October 19, 2011 at 07:02 PM
ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY OUTSTANDING!
Dave Emanuel October 19, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Gretchen and Kurt are the same people who led the Snellville Farmer's Market to the number one position in the state of Georgia and east of the Mississippi. They will undoubtedly make the community garden a resounding success as well.
lynn November 20, 2011 at 10:35 PM
please email at slim1826@bellsouth.net on how to get in on snellville farmers market and also on the garden for the community. I love snellville. lynn

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