“My park matters because it provides a public space for community members have access to activities that they wouldn’t be able to do at their homes.”
Harry Clements is the volunteer manager of Grove Park Community Garden in northwest Atlanta. The Grove Park neighborhood is a food desert, with the closest fully-stocked grocery store three miles away, not an easy, affordable or quick journey for the many folks in Grove Park without a car. A recent local study concluded that people who live in metro Atlanta food deserts are more likely to die from nutrition-related sicknesses like diabetes and heart disease.1 A Georgia Tech study found that Grove Park and surrounding neighborhoods do indeed suffer from high rates of morbidity and poor nutrition.2
Harry, and the Grove Park Community Garden, are helping answer the great need for access to healthy food in Grove Park by growing gardens in parks that neighbors could not grow at home.For years, community gardens were not allowed in City of Atlanta parks. When another Friends of the Park group wanted to grow a garden in their park to help serve a need for fresh food in their community, they reached out for help from Park Pride. Park Pride responded by creating legislation that would allow community gardens to be grown in Atlanta parks at no extra cost to the city, and then worked successfully to get that legislation passed in 2007.
Now neighborhoods like Grove Park that suffer from a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables can utilize their local parks in a way that best serves the unique needs and characteristics of their communities. Park Pride works to help communities respond and find solutions to their unique situations through what their local park can provide. Your support of Park Pride makes it possible for communities across Atlanta to take advantage of Park Pride’s highly valuable programs and services for little or no cost.
The Grove Park community has made use of a range of Park Pride’s programs and services to activate their local greenspace, improve nutrition and build community with great success.
- Community members formed a Friends of the Park (FOP) group and successfully applied to build a community garden in their local park through the FOP and Community Garden Programs.
- The group also has worked with Park Pride through the Park Visioning Program to design and build an additional garden for pollinators to help increase garden yields and nurture urban biodiversity.
- The Friends of Grove Park applied for, and received, restricted matching grants through Park Pride’s Grants Program to continue improving areas of the park and garden.
- Additionally, as Harry puts it, the neighborhood and its park have greatly benefited from Park Pride’s essential work as “the middle, the in-between when it comes to the city and the community.” He further explained, “It makes it easier and less frustrating to have an organization you can go to when you need to ask a question or when you need the resources for the park and for the community garden.”
Grove Park is just one example of how the power of parks is alive and growing in Atlanta. Would you consider making a difference for neighborhood parks and communities across Atlanta with a contribution?
Folks like Harry need you to step in now to help Atlanta’s parks grow and communities thrive, to give children learning opportunities through greenspace, and to protect and steward our local public lands for generations to come.
Contribute to Park Pride today to help move such initiatives forward. The growth of the power of parks rests with you. Your gift to Park Pride helps communities like Grove Park utilize their local greenspace to feed neighbors, educate children, and build lasting relationships that strengthen community.