The New West Broad Community Garden
Built in 2020, the West Broad Community Garden is adjacent to the West Broad Farmers Market (300 S. Rocksprings St.) and sits on 1.2 acres at 815 Waddell St. The site is the result of an amazing partnership with the Athens Housing Authority – they have made their parking lot available and have provided the use of an acre of land adjacent for the new West Broad Community Garden. Unlike the former West Broad Garden that produced fruits and veggies for sale at the farmers market, this is strictly a community garden where currently 9 residents have raised beds that are high enough not to have to bend making it a more accessible gardening experience where residents grow their own food. There are also perennial fruit and nut trees and shrubs, an herb garden and pollinator garden. The West Broad Community Garden is part of the Community Garden Network.
The West Broad neighborhood was established around the community’s historic African American schools. As home to several of Athens’ first African American churches, schools, and institutions, the neighborhood has been important to the community for nearly 150 years. The physical and cultural centerpiece of the neighborhood is the now-vacant West Broad School. In the early 1900s, the school’s principal established garden plots for students to grow food for their families and offered evening courses for adults in cooking and nutrition.
Through the West Broad Market Garden, Athens Land Trust strived to continue the agricultural legacy of the site and to celebrate the history of community empowerment through food. In February 2012, with the support of community leaders, the Clarke County School District allowed ALT to use the West Broad School site to create the West Broad Garden, a half-acre, production-oriented urban farm.
In May 2013, the West Broad Farmers Market opened in the school’s tree-lined courtyard with the goal of increasing access to affordable, local, healthy food as well as providing economic opportunities for residents to grow food and sell their agriculture-based products. Shoppers were able to purchase produce that was grown steps from the market booths. The West Broad Garden and Farmers Market addressed barriers to healthy food access (including affordability, accessibility, and nutrition education) and celebrated the legacy of the West Broad School by maintaining it as a vibrant community asset.
At the end of 2019, we moved from the West Broad School location and established the new West Broad Community Garden at 815 Waddell Street, on the Grounds of the Housing Authority.
The West Broad Community Garden is located at 815 Waddell Street (behind the Housing Authority)