KALB, Spirit of Athens, and the City of Athens worked together to apply for a $20,000 grant from Keep America Beautiful and Lowe’s to make improvements to the Farmers’ Market in Athens and add a community garden to the market property.
I am pleased to announce that our project was one selected from 350 grant applications, and the only one from Alabama, to be awarded the $20,000 grant!
Plans include the removal of some of the asphalt, addition of curbing and landscaping, and the creation of on-street parking. A community garden will be added with raised beds allowing for persons of all abilities to work the gardens. A working windmill will also be added to draw water from Town Creek to provide irrigation. The market will become a much more open and inviting place for activities such as art shows, live music, educational programs, and community gatherings as part of the Athens Saturday Market sponsored by Spirit of Athens.
We intend for these improvements to our Farmers’ Market to support local farmers and nursery growers by providing a more pleasant shopping experience for residents. The market and the gardens will also encourage residents to eat healthy by providing access to fresh produce and education programs. We hope to assist senior citizens on limited incomes to include fresh produce in their diet through a voucher program. The community gardens will provide adults and students opportunities for community service and environmental education.
The planning committee is currently being assembled to make these goals and plans a reality. Local residents are encouraged to share any ideas for this project. We hope to make the Farmers’ Market and the Community Gardens a vibrant community gathering place, and we welcome everyone to share skills, ideas, knowledge, and volunteer hours.
Together, we are making things happen in Athens!
By: Lynne Hart