Hyatt Park Keenan Terrace Neighborhood Association (Extension and New)
On the northwest side of Columbia, South Carolina, you’ll find the community of Hyatt Park. The land on which Hyatt Park is located was purchased and developed in the early 1890s by Frederick Hargrave Hyatt; an avid believer in community and education. This is an underserved community that includes many elderly.
In the Hyatt Park community, gas stations and fast-food restaurants are plenty but there are no grocery stores. The closest option for fresh produce is a Publix in downtown Columbia, which is a ten-minute drive away, whereas many people do not have vehicles. The Bi-Lo grocery store that used to serve the area closed in 2019 and an O’Reilly’s Auto Parts took its place.
The Hyatt Park/Keenan Terrace Neighborhood Association has been working hard to make finding fresh food a bit easier for residents.
Many community members are buying food at the dollar stores, but there are no fresh foods available. Their efforts include establishing a community garden, providing fresh food products to its residents.
Several garden beds established, and containers planted with a variety of radishes, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, herbs and much more. The garden strategy is easy plants with large harvest. Neighbors have donated seeds and transplants including papaya, mint, additional tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and eggplants. Garden produce is harvested by community members and taken home. Harvested produce is also placed in the PITCH Inc. refrigerator for members of the neighborhood to access freely.
Our gardening activities have included having a small group of volunteers from a local church to assist assembling and placing the raised beds for the garden, hosting a Community Garden Party to celebrate the grant and invite neighbors to view the garden where the media were invited and scheduled a day where community members were invited to come, and harvest produce to take home with them. The Association also invited a plant-based chef who cooked a sample meal using items from the pop-up fridge and herbs from the community garden.
Many of our garden activities would not be possible without the support of our local partners: City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department – Donated land for the community to use for the garden, Pitch, Inc. – Refrigerator Program Provider, Richlands Master Gardener- Garden Advisors and Educators. Serve and Connect – Local Youth program participation.
The USDA grant funds were used to extend an existing community garden and create a new garden to be able to feed more people.
The garden can now provide fresh fruit and vegetables for at least 150. The additional garden funding has increased the number of people to benefit from the garden went from 75 + to at least 150 during the growing seasons. (Spring, Summer and Fall)