Brightside: Corner Sanctuary

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POCOMOKE, Md. – Worcester County community members are gaining some green thumbs with the ever-growing corner sanctuary; A garden that’s feeding the local population. We’re told it is all a part of a bigger initiative to help community members improve their health, and contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. “There’s so much going on in the world today and it will be really beneficial for us to learn how to grow some of our own produces in our own backyard,” says Neelam Strom, community garden coordinator.

A collective effort between the Worcester County library and Health Department along with other local community partners is addressing food insecurity as well as the primary drivers of Type 2 diabetes. It’s called the ‘Farm to Library’ project. It’s a project where community members are getting a chance to learn about and grow the foods that should be on their plates. “We have potatoes, onions, cabbage, snap peas, strawberries, eggplants, and cucumbers.” Strom adds, “We’re able to help them learn stuff, we give them training on what to pull out what’s edible, what’s not edible, how to grow it so it’s fun.”

We’re told besides providing access to the garden, community members can learn so much more through this project. “Financial wellness education, cooking classes, grocery store tours, and increased access to the national diabetes prevention program,” says Crystal Bell with Worcester Co. Heath Department.

This initiative was made possible through funding from care first and blue cross blue shield to implement strategies to address diabetes in the county. “This is where the community garden comes into play which makes products that are available to residents, making sure that they have access. but not only that, making sure that they know how to prepare healthy food items that they’re harvesting and picking them out of local community gardens,” says Bell.

The garden holds more than just vegetables, there’s a pollinator garden and even a Native American section that contains beans, squash, and corn. “Our whole purpose was to beautify downtown and get the young people and old people working together to grow to produce and be sustainable,” says Strom.

While the garden continues to grow with the help of the community, volunteers say the garden and the program bring a whole new sense of togetherness. “It’s a great place to come with my family, my kids to enjoy just the outside, to be able to give back to the community, and to just enjoy the nice weather,” says volunteer, Trever Pusey. Another volunteer, Nicole Punches adds, “It’s that aspect of working together so that’s probably my favorite part.”

The garden is also maintained by different groups such as boy scouts, high school groups, and 4-h members. We’re told the community is continuously adding other items to the garden as well.

There are other similar gardens throughout Worcester Co. with the same mission, which includes Snow Hill and Berlin.

Categories: Brightside