I’ve lived in Virginia Beach most of my life (minus years away at college and years away right after I got married)…literally since I was 2. I’ve seen a lot of changes and development. One such change was the tearing down of Princess Anne Park on the corner of Princess Anne Road and Dam Neck Road. I grew up going to this park for parties, festivals, etc. I have fond memories of the multiple playgrounds, playing around the trees, enjoying the basketball and tennis courts. It was a great place for families and kids to go to enjoy recreational activities, enjoy the outdoors, and not have to spend much money.
Fast forward to my adulthood when the area around Princess Anne Park was being developed to build an outdoor amphitheater for concerts, then a high school, then a hospital. The huge park with tons of surrounding grassy field was now reduced to a few picnic tables in the trees and called Princess Anne Gateway Park. I always felt sad no longer passing it and seeing hundreds of residents enjoying the park. The school, hospital, amphitheater have also been beneficial and wonderful additions to the community, but my memories of a vibrant outdoor area was gone.
That is why I was so happy to hear about Virginia Beach Community Gardens, Inc., a non-profit organization, that is partnering with Whole Foods Market to create a one and a half acre food-producing garden in land graciously donated by the nearby Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. The garden will be open to the public and will take 3 years to build based on the assistance of much needed volunteers. Hunger in our communities is becoming a growing problem and it is promising to hear that VBCG will be working with local shelters and food pantries for measures to harvest from the gardens and distribute much needed healthy food into the local communities. Even better, the gardens will also have a focus on educating the community on sustainability, local organic produce, and promoting community building and collaboration.
How Can You Help?
Donate. They are currently running a fundraising campaign where you can donate funds to help acquire supplies, materials, etc, to support the project! Their goal is ~$10,000. Every little bit counts!
Volunteer. There are numerous volunteer events and opportunities…after all, the gardens are aimed to be a shared experience with the community! They will be having events for creating beds and plantings this March and April. You can inquire about volunteering here and keep up to date with volunteer needs/events by liking the Virginia Beach Community Gardens Facebook page. They’ve already announced needs for a Raised Bed Build in March 14, 2015 at 10:00AM!
I have to add that this is an amazing opportunity for you, your friends, and your whole family to contribute to the community, learn, and provide service to others.
Share. I am due to deliver in March and won’t be much help this spring to contribute my physical labor to this worthy community project. However, I look forward to possible opportunities down the road to volunteer. In the meantime, I am trying to spread the word (that’s about the best I can do at 8 months pregnant!). So please share this information with your friends, on your social media channels, etc.!