In the midst of our East Cobb community resides a garden, nurtured and supported by community members. CrossRoads Community Garden, located behind Chestnut Ridge Christian Church off Johnson Ferry Road, is still yielding produce for both local charities and the gardeners who tend it after ten productive years.
Debbie Abernathy, church member and Cobb County Master Gardener, talks about the garden’s beginnings in April 2009: “A proposal to create a community garden to make use of vacant space behind the church was introduced to the congregation. Our great church said, ‘We see it on the hill, and we can make it happen.’”
Within a month, Abernathy, Rev. Byron Wells, and several church members met on that hill, constructed the first 3 raised beds, and mixed the soil. The garden came to life.
Fast forward to April 13, 2019. Church members, gardeners, and community supporters gathered to celebrate a decade of CrossRoads community gardening with food and fellowship. The garden has grown to 85 beds, with 74 leased, 8 designated as sources for the Feed the Hungry program, a children’s garden, grape trellis, and berry patch.
“From the very first lease, community gardeners were asked to donate 10 percent of their harvest for charitable giving,” says Abernathy. “Over the past 10 years, the best recorded donation year totaled 1,387 pounds — not bad for 8 Feed the Hungry beds and a 10 percent voluntary donation!”
Charitable recipients have included Center for Family Resources, First Christian Church of Marietta, MUST Ministries, and NE Cobb YMCA summer feeding program.
CrossRoads has truly been a community project. Abernathy gives accolades to many groups, including Chestnut Ridge Christian Church that had the vision and generosity to make it happen with funds when needed, insurance, free use of property, as well as member sweat equity and prayers. Local Boy Scout troops have completed Eagle building projects at the garden while Master Gardeners of Cobb County have helped with education, hard work, and financial support in the early years. The Cobb County government has supported the project as well.
At the 10-year celebration, Abernathy thanked the individuals who have toiled in the garden over the years. “Thank you for our terrific community gardeners who work hard, donate 10 percent to local food pantries, and grow wonderful fresh food,” she says. “But Marilyn Richter from CrossRoads and Bobbie Wilson from the American Community Gardening Association like to say a community garden is 10 percent vegetables and 90 percent community. I agree. Here we grow friendships, share laughter and tears, encourage each other, teach, give, pray, and have quiet moments of reflection in God’s world.”
For more information about the CrossRoads Community Garden, contact Debbie Abernathy at 770-843-6100 or Debbie@esmithair.com. Chestnut Ridge Christian Church is located at 2663 Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb.
This article originally appeared in our May issue of EAST COBBER, on page 12. Click here to view the digital edition.