Community Garden Comes To Life In Fort Smith Thanks To Grant

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A community garden is coming to life at the corner of 8th and N. L Streets in Fort Smith thanks to a $20,000 grant.

Sixty volunteers from Mars Pet Care, Mercy Hospital and local schools pitched in Friday (Oct. 14) to spread compost and plants seeds and flowers at the Antioch Discovery Garden.

"The things we do with the children in the elementary grade levels right now is education," Executive Director Charolette Tidwell said. "We're teaching them how to grow and what they grow and harvest when they're here, so that's what makes it most exciting."

Volunteers are also hoping the garden will be a way to teach people in the area about wellness.

"I have a young family and I'd like a part of our family to be a part of Fort Smith, learning about the ways that we can create a family of nutrition, a family of health, so that in 20 and 30 years, we won't have to have some of the services that we are seeing that we have to offer to the community," Martin Schreiber, Vice President of Admissions at Mercy, said. "We can be like these children, learning right on the ground and enjoying it."

Once volunteers are done planting, the garden plots will be assigned to families and organizations that will take care of them.

The grant that made the garden possible came from the Seeds of Change Foundation. The nonprofit is dedicated to the promotion  sustainable technologies, educational development and environmental reform, according to their website. Future plans for the garden include a pergola and a volunteer center.