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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Workshops for Community Garden Leaders

NCCGP-logo-largeThe North Carolina Community Garden Partners (NCCGP) are excited to announce a series of educational workshops for community garden leaders in North Carolina starting this August — Gardeners Recreating Our World (GROW).

Funding from the Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation and Resourceful Communities, a program of The Conservation Fund and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation will support these workshops with the goals of increasing knowledge among community garden leaders about environmentally-friendly gardening, the importance of pollinators and the use of season extension techniques to extend the growing season; increasing the number of community gardens that are practicing these techniques; and connecting community gardeners, garden leaders and other partners across the state to resources and each other.

Regional workshops will include hands-on training, a networking lunch and a community garden tour. The goal is to hold the workshops in areas of the state that have yet to receive extensive training about community garden development, but where there is a growing interest in community gardens.

Although targeted at community garden leaders, workshops will be open to gardeners, volunteers and anyone interested in community gardens. “Our goal is to reach 25 participants per workshop and to provide an opportunity for people in multiple regions to learn more about how to maintain an environmentally friendly and sustainable community garden. I hope to build the NCCGP network of gardens, increase our membership, and help create regional networks of garden members to continue to learn from one another after the workshops are over,” said Maria Hitt, GROW Project Coordinator. An opportunity to apply for community garden mini-grants will also be made available to workshop participants in early 2015.

Hitt began working with NCCGP in early June 2014. Following a 15 year career in public health where she honed her skills as a community organizer, coalition builder, meeting facilitator, trainer, grant writer and fundraiser, Maria has managed the Growing Healthy Kids Community Garden project in Carrboro, NC since 2008, working mainly with Latino and Karen families.

She is also the founder of Playful Nature Consulting where she creates natural play spaces, gardens and outdoor learning opportunities for children and teachers. Maria is a member of the American Community Gardening Association, a long time volunteer and supporter of NCCGP and has been growing food in her backyard for 25 years. “I am currently focused on community gardens and helping people get access to fresh food. It is my goal to use my skills and experience to help people improve their lives and health through community–based projects and programs.”

For more information about participating in and/or supporting the NCCGP GROW workshop series, contact Maria Hitt,, 919-525-5946.

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