Sills, a Berry College senior interning with the South Rome Redevelopment Corp., is in the initial stages of making that plan become real. To gauge community support for the garden, he’s conducting two meetings this week.
The meetings are both at 6 p.m., Monday and Thursday, at the South Rome Community Association building, 607 Pennington Ave.
“People raise crops and harvest them and distribute them evenly,” Sills said. “It’s an effort to localize food production.”
Sills’ internship ends in about six weeks. When he leaves, he wants his “turn-key” plan for the garden in place.
The plan would include a budget for the garden, a list of contacts, what plants should be grown, where seeds can be bought, how the garden will be overseen and how future caretakers of the garden can assess the community’s interest.
“It would basically be a guideline of things to make it successful,” Sills said. “An educational component will be very, very important to this.”
The biggest components of the garden — its location and how it’ll be funded — remain undecided. Sills said he’s scouted South Rome for spots, but emphasized that the community must decide where the vegetables will grow.
The South Rome Redevelopment Corp. will enable the creation of a garden, but the community must run it, Sills said. “It’s kind of dependant on funding,” Sills added. “It’s kind of dependant on community interest.”
Based on Sills’ research, he said it’ll take about $5,000 to start a pilot community garden. That would pay for the equipment, seeds and soil samples, Sills said.
The money could come from private donors or grants. The land could come from a private owner or the government, if an agreement can be reached, Sills said.
“A community garden can be done in a million different ways,” he added.
He encouraged everyone, not just South Rome residents, to attend this week’s meetings.