Our Giving Garden

We recently got the chance to do a Q&A with our friends over at Our Giving Garden. We’re so excited to partner with these fine folks this season!

Tell us a little bit about the Giving Garden – where you are located, when it was founded and what is your mission?

Our Giving Garden is located at 75 Cooper Lake Road in Mableton and began in the fall of 2016 with a simple mission of “Neighbors Feeding Neighbors”.  Now, as we approach our second birthday, we are proud to say we are committed to interrupting hunger and homelessness through:

  • Growing, raising and donating 100% of our locally produced nutritious food to a local food pantry
  • Promoting the benefits of organic, local and home gardening through our educational programs, community events, and volunteer work days
  • Providing shelter and meals to families in need through our onsite Giving House

Talk to us about your land/space and what you believe makes it so special. 

Our garden is a happy place. We purposefully created a multi-dimensional space where adults and children can serve their community in a meaningful way and at the same time meet new friends and have fun as a family. The gates are always open for people to volunteer on their own schedule or simply enjoy the garden as guests. It may sound odd to some, but pulling weeds in the hot sun, getting your hands dirty in the cool soil, and laughing with a friend while picking beans is good for the soul.

Talk to us about how you all receive funding/volunteers to operate and how folks can get involved or help donate! 

The Giving Garden operates solely by volunteers, with no paid staff. Volunteers come from our neighbors, friends, and family members. We are joined by other service groups in the community such as churches, scout troops, school groups, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and local companies to assist core volunteers.

Volunteers are responsible for all aspects of care, maintenance, and operation of the nearly 4-acre property. All are welcome to the garden regardless of gardening knowledge or skill. We are also part of the World Wide Organization of Organic Farmers (WWOOF) and we have hosted members of WWOOF from all over the U.S. In fact, we have a family from New Zealand arriving in a few weeks. These people work several hours in the garden a day in exchange for staying at the garden house. Please find us at www.ourgivinggarden.org or our Facebook and Instagram pages @OurGivingGarden.

It sounds like the Giving Garden has grown to take on a life of its own in a very short amount of time. Can you tell us about some of the community programs you all are most proud of?

  • We have offered classes to the community on raising chickens, beer brewing, bee keeping, container gardening, growing mushrooms, vermiculture, seed starting and more. We love that we can educate our community on sustainable practices.
  • We have a student intern and another student who helps with grant writing.
  • We are proud to give children an opportunity to learn, grow and have real world experiences as a supplement to their school education.
  • We have been awarded a few community acknowledgments that we are humbled and proud to have received.
  • We received a “love your neighbors” recognition through the Smyrna “Our Town” magazine.
  • We were recently selected to be part of the American Community Garden Association Annual Symposium Garden Tour in September.
  • We were awarded fruit treed from the Atlanta Local Food Initiative and Concrete Jungle came and planted them this Spring.

Do you have any other fun local events for the community? What is the best way for folks to get in touch?

Our Giving Garden is all about fun. The vision for the land was not just a source for locally produced food but also a green space for the neighbors to enjoy. We host an annual Spring Fundraising Event called BBQ, BLOOMS, & BREWS that provides food, craft brews, live music, and plenty of kid activities.  Additionally, the garden hosts an annual pumpkin patch and fall festival, Summer Movie Night Series, and countless bonfires in the garden.

The space is loaded with children’s play areas with more envisioned for the future. A children’s learning kitchen and farmers market is in the early planning stages now with completion planned by end of this year.

Future plans include a small outdoor stage/theater to host performances and movies, a dog park, a walking trail, and a few sheep, goats and ducks that will help us keep grass mowed and insect populations low while providing a petting zoo at the same time.  Please find us at ourgivinggarden.org or our Facebook.com/ourgivinggarden and Instagram page @OurGivingGarden.

Can you tell us how you initially got involved with Muss & Turner’s and how this partnership began?

Muss & Turner’s has been a favorite of ours since it first opened with its welcoming community tables and friendly neighborhood vibe. M&T has always been a generous supporter of our local community and felt like a natural fit for the Giving Garden. It is our pleasure and honor to be a part of Hidi’s Patch this Fall. We also hope to offer up housing in the Giving house for any families in need of temporary housing with the Giving Kitchen.