Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Dig In to encourage community gardens

Posted April 6, 2010 8:34 p.m. EDT

Organic, locally grown produce is all the rage these days. For many, that means shopping at the closest farmer's market.

But a coalition of groups hopes more people get their produce even more locally than the market: their workplace, school, church, neighborhood and backyard.

Advocates for Health in Action will present Dig In from 9 a.m to 12:30 p.m. April 17 at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh. The event, intended for adults, will feature workshops, presentations from community garden experts, educational booths and a guide to working community gardens throughout Wake County.

Laura Aiken, the group's director and a community health specialist at WakeMed, said the goal is to encourage more groups to start up commmunity gardens. Aiken said the gardens connect people with where their food comes from, but also help build community.

"What we've realized in working in this area for the past couple of years is that there are tons of people in our area who are really interested and excited about community gardens, but they're not sure how to get started, how to get funded," Aiken told me.

While many of the existing community gardens in Wake County are at churches and schools, Aiken hopes more neighborhoods and individuals will launch their own. Raleigh officials are currently working on zoning changes that would allow community gardens in empty, city-owned lots within neighborhoods, Aiken said.

The event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is encouraged as space is limited. Go to for more information and to register. The website has a list of existing community gardens, along with pick-your-own fruits and vegetable stands, CSAs and farmer's markets in Wake County.