Small and growing: Lingtonton teacher and church how to use gardens for community support

In April, Shannon Brooks, a special education teacher at Lington-Shawton Elementary School, noticed a man walking in a parking lot and pulling a car around. It was a frame for a garden bed on a truck.

She jokingly said to the driver, “Do you have any of these anymore? Because this is exactly what I want! ”

The truck driver was Roger Arp, coordinator of Llington United Methodist Church (UMC) Garden Program. His window rolled down. Brooks recalls:

We were looking for people like you.

Roger Arp

Satellite gardens

Fast forward to August, and four high garden beds sit next to Brooks School. She is part of the Lingington UMC satellite gardening program, which provides a beginner’s kit for gardeners who want to gather in their backyard, realizing that they provide at least 25% of their produce to the church.

Lillington: Shawtaw elevated gardens on the first floor of the playground. Caroline Parker / Education N.C.

Satellite gardens began recruiting other garden volunteers for Lingtonon UMC as a result of Covid-19. The church raised 2 hectares of farmland and garden beds off the main road in Lingtonton.

Because of the epidemic, members of the congregation were often at home, and the concept of satellite gardening grew out of neutrality – and people returning home were more willing to cultivate in their backyards than church volunteers.

Lillington UMC is able to provide grounding equipment, high garden bed frame, fertilizer and seeds. This funding came from the Church, and by 2020, donations from wealthy communities. The church now has seven satellite gardens, including what Brooks expects from the school.

How did this EC teacher grow up?

Brooks observes how involved your student is when he puts things in the classroom and gets dirty.

“My children love gardening, I was not a great gardener,” she said, laughing.

She started with flowers, and if she killed, she would buy a new one. Brooks digs dead plants out of the ground and studies the roots with your student. Getting them involved and showing them how to grow was her priority – and that’s it.

Two years before running with Airp, Brooks took the bricks from a home project and built a small garden outside the classroom. She started planting things from the inside out, but eventually the garden had to be adjusted for the upcoming trailer steps.

She involved some of her classmates who saw how bright their students were in gardening, and the high garden beds were accessible to Brooks students who use wheelchairs or other disabilities.

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