From Vacant Lots to Flourishing Community Gardens
On the outskirts of Woodstock, Georgia something remarkable is happening. One couple’s dream to make fresh food and medicine accessible to their community using under-utilized spaces has turned into a thriving food system covering over 10 suburban lots. Meet Melanie Jones and Rob Miller of Trefoil Gardens, two passionate individuals driven to make a difference in their neighborhood.
Starting with two empty lots, Melanie and Rob launched a “yard-share” style CSA in which neighbors share growing space in exchange for fresh produce. In addition to nutritious food, Trefoil Gardens provides education, access to nature, and new ways to interact through events and workshare programs. The couple makes their products accessible to all by ensuring that those experiencing food insecurity can use SNAP benefits everywhere Trefoil Gardens sells produce.
“As urban farmers in a rapidly changing community, we’re working hard to protect and promote diversity here in our town by advocating for food access for all,” says Melanie. With 20 gardens, the couple struggled to keep up with requests from the community to supply plant seedlings. Recently, Trefoil Gardens was awarded a Brighter Future Fund grant as part of a collaboration between American Farmland Trust (AFT) and Tillamook. These funds enabled Melanie and Rob to build a propagation greenhouse to keep up with the growing needs of their community.
AFT’s Brighter Future Fund grant program provides direct financial support to farmers across the country to strengthen farm resilience, enhance farm viability, and improve access to land. The Brighter Future Fund is just one of AFT’s many regional and national programs, that all share the goal of advancing AFT’s mission of protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land.