The Charleston Parks Conservancy has unveiled its newest community garden on James Island. This month, gardeners will begin filling the leased beds at Medway Park and Community Garden with fall plantings as they learn about the benefits of growing their own crops.
Medway Park and Community Garden, which is about a 4-acre parcel, is located at 2101 Medway Road in the Riverland Terrace area. It is the Conservancy’s third community garden; others are Magnolia Park and Community Garden in West Ashley and Elliotborough Community Garden on the peninsula.
“We have seen the impact community gardens have had in other parts of town and we know the James Island community will benefit from having a public space to learn best practices for gardening in the Lowcountry,” said Jim Martin, programs director at the Conservancy. “We know the addition of a community garden will give more people the opportunity to experience not only the health benefits but the personal satisfaction of the park-to-table concept.”
Volunteer groups and Park Angels have been working at Medway over the last few months to construct the raised beds and get the garden ready for growing. A group from the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry kicked off the garden activity by building the first 12 raised bed planters, and then Blue Acorn volunteers completed another 30 beds.
More volunteers from The Citadel and Charleston Riverdogs helped construct the remaining leased plots plus the 4-foot by 16-foot community beds. Today, a group of volunteers from Blackbaud helped place the recently constructed raised garden beds and filled them with topsoil and compost.
In the coming days, the pathways will be lined with coquina, a soft limestone of broken shells.
The cost of the project is about $40,000. The first phase of fundraising is complete, thanks in part to a $10,000 donation from the Olde Charlestowne Sertoma Club and a $10,000 donation from The Standard James Island and other contributions from the community. Fundraising is underway for the second phase of the project, which includes working with a class from the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston. Students will design and build a community garden pavilion.
Anyone interested in leasing a plot, volunteering or donating to support the construction of the garden should contact Leslie Wade, community garden coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-501-9161.