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Entrance, path improvements being made to Decatur’s Kitchen Garden at Legacy Park

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Entrance, path improvements being made to Decatur’s Kitchen Garden at Legacy Park

Tei Sung works in the garden at Decatur's Garden Kitchen to harvest produce. Photo submitted by Sunshine Sachs.

Decatur, GA — Some improvements are underway at Decatur’s Kitchen Garden at Legacy Park. Global Growers Network has run the garden at the park for about 10 years and some of the original garden infrastructure is wearing out and is due for replacement.

The group is working with Tito’s Vodka and Food Well Alliance to create a new entrance to the garden, Global Growers Executive Director Robin Chanin said at the Sept. 23 Legacy Decatur board meeting.

“When we established the garden on the United Methodist Children’s Home property, it was in a hidden and kind of tucked away location, which at that time was really a benefit to us because the garden was not closely connected to the Children’s Home operations,” Chanin said. “So when the city bought the property and began the master plan process, we really embraced the opportunity to connect the garden into the broader landscape and began to brainstorm with the city what would that look like.”

Decatur’s Kitchen Garden was recenlty selected as the beneficiary of a corporate giveback project sponsored by Tito’s Vodka and Food Well Alliance. The groups held a volunteer day earlier this month and volunteers helped weed the herb garden, install new debris bins around the garden and watered and mulched fruit trees.

Chanin said Tito’s Vodka and Food Well Alliance are investing about $45,000 to create a new entrance to the garden and construction should be completed in the next few weeks.

When the work is complete, patrons approaching the garden coming toward the pond and moving past the barn will see a clear entrance to the garden with stonework, an arbor and landscaped plants.

“We’ll also be installing a new sign there, so anyone coming by will understand what they’re seeing, what they’re looking at, how to learn more about it, how they engage with it, and we will continue to coordinate our signage with the Legacy Park signage that’s going in,” Chanin said. 

After the stonework entrance, there will be a new path leading to the garden as the existing dirt path gets quite muddy, Chanin added.

“It’s also at a low spot that’s just underneath a storm drain, and so solving for those erosion issues, wetness and moisture issues was something we knew we wanted to address with this project,” Chanin said. 

Food Well Alliance partnered with Ed Castro Landscape on the design and installation of the path. They will create a 50-foot-long boardwalk of wooded path that will be slightly elevated and have ADA accessible ramps on either side. Permanent footings will also be installed.

Chanin said that even with water flowing through the area, Global Growers feels confident that the boardwalk will be secured, and the foundation should stay solid.

“Then we are rebuilding the pergola and arbor that leads into the gate to the garden, so overall will be a much improved experience, a much nicer look and feel to the space, and ultimately as the Legacy Park master plan is implemented and some of the area around the barns get fixed up, we feel like this will be a good tie in to the rest of that,” Chanin said. 

She added that the organization has been careful in making sure the work was also consistent with any parameters of the conservation easement of the park, as the garden is located in that area.

Legacy Decatur board member Patti Garrett said she is excited to see this next phase and is thrilled to have Global Growers more integrated into Legacy Park.

“I think that will be more welcoming for the farmers, as well as for people who kind of wonder what’s been going on back there, if they aren’t aware of the garden. [It’s an] educational opportunity,” Garrett said. 

Legacy Decatur Executive Director Lyn Menne said that moving the entrance, so it’s more visible to the community on the path system and moving it closer to the barn entrance will allow the barn and garden to offer an attractive environmental education location, as well as some activity.

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