Growing healthy food for kids at the Shiloh Community Garden

MENTORING THE NEXT GENERATION: Longtime Shiloh neighbors and friends, from left, Georgia Allen, Norma Baynes and Linda Carter joined neighborhood youngsters in the Shiloh Community Garden for planting and an al fresco lunch on May 5. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Norma Baynes was born and raised in Asheville’s Shiloh neighborhood. As an adult, she moved to Maryland, where she lived for 40 years before deciding to return home in 1996. “I moved back to the same street I was raised on,” she says. A few years later, she helped to found the Shiloh Community Organization. In 2004, the Shiloh Community Garden was born.

“It was very important that we start a garden where people could come and access food,” explains Baynes. “We give our food to the community. We don’t ask people to pay for it. Economically a lot of people can’t afford certain things. With a garden, people could come pick it themselves,” she says. The garden grows herbs, greens, tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra and so much more. “These days people eat a lot of fast food,” says Baynes. “Healthy food is very important.”

In addition to an amphitheater and outdoor pizza oven, the garden also has a roadside stand that sells crafts made by the local community. But Baynes says that her favorite thing about the garden is that it’s a place where children can come and learn. “It’s amazing when I go to the garden and they’re cutting up fruit for a fruit salad. You want to see kids eat fruit!” says Baynes. “They learn to cook vegetables and they learn about why they should eat vegetables and not always fast food.”

Baynes adds that the kids who work in the garden also get a taste of environmental stewardship. “We have a creek that runs through the property and we monitor the water,” says Baynes. “The kids learn about the environment and the creatures in the water. We are teaching our children about the importance of the environment and that they are a part of it.”

SHARE
About Kim Dinan
Kim Dinan is a freelance writer and author of The Yellow Envelope. She lives in WNC with her husband and daughter. Follow me @kimdinan

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.