Members of the Jacksonville community gathered Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Nellie Crim Park to break ground on a community garden project sponsored by YOU! EMPOWER, a local initiative dedicated to providing disadvantaged women and families with tools and resources to help them achieve a self-sustainable lifestyle.

Approximately 40 people attended the event, as city officials addressed the crowd, while YOU! EMPOWER advisory board chairman Dr. Mary Alice Bone Adamson presented a brief history of Nellie Crim.

The garden – located at Myrtle Drive at Cherokee Trail, behind the Texas Basket Factory in East Jacksonville – allows residents an opportunity “explore options for supplementing their household food purchases, increase their overall buying power, income stability and promote healthy eating habits,” according to a release.

Several components will comprise the garden: Fresh produce, herbs and edible flowers, as well as flowering plants, and it will feature a variety of gardening techniques.

“YOU! EMPOWER will collaborate with the community at large, businesses, educational institutions, youth groups, public health, AgriLife, Master Gardeners, churches, diverse agencies and nonprofit organizations,” according to a release, which described the wide variety of produce that will be grown.

“Planting will include greens, lettuces, cabbages, root vegetables, other staple vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, fruit and vines,” it stated.

“The garden (also) will have roses, sunflowers and other aesthetic features. Our vision is for the garden to be one of a kind in our local community. Residents who visit the garden will experience the natural beauty of the park, learn to grow, provide maintenance and harvest food,” it stated.

To learn about YOU! EMPOWER’s programs, contact Sandra E. Fry, Founder and Executive Director at 903-339-8605 or visit the Facebook page, “You Empower of Cherokee County.”

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