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An urban teaching garden takes root

Farm Chastain’s Rosie Davidson freely shares her love for organic gardening with others.

Two beautiful “roses” bloom amid the rows of vegetables and herbs at Farm Chastain, the urban teaching farm tucked away on the south half of Chastain Park that serves as the headquarters for the Chastain Park Conservancy (CPC): One is Rosa McHugh, the CPC’s executive director, and the other is master gardener Rosie Davidson, who conceived the idea of the teaching garden in the 260-acre Buckhead park. Davidson now leads free monthly classes there for adults and children in partnership with North Fulton Master Gardeners and the Piedmont Atlanta Hospital Cancer Wellness Center.

“It’s all part of the CPC’s healthy living programs to help educate the community on urban gardening,” says Davidson. “We harvest 55 to 60 pounds of vegetables a week that go to area nonprofits like Meals on Wheels and the women’s shelter that have partnered with Farm Chastain.” Everything used is either organic or recycled, with nary a pesticide in sight.

Davidson began farming as a “wee child.” It’s since become a lifetime passion—one she is eager to share with others. The handson classes she leads in the spring and fall teach how, when and where to plant vegetables. Classes on canning and container gardening are also offered. All are free and open to the public, and students leave with fresh veggies for dinner.

Dependent on donations and partnerships with corporations and the community, the CPC held its first fundraiser, Taste the Vine, in June. The event raised $5,000, which will be used to pay for plant materials and a salary for the part-time farmer.

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