2022 Annual Report


1,600 Square Feet Feeds Thousands Sometimes Charlie Herbert sees who visits the Giles Community Garden, and sometimes he doesn’t. The garden, which is nestled in the heart of Pearisburg, is open at all hours to anyone who needs it. And that’s exactly how Charlie, the founder and engine behind everything that happens at the garden, wants it. This is one way to structure a community garden: dedicated volunteers growing food, an open invitation to neighbors to pick produce at any time, and donating excess food to nonprofits. Founded in 2014, the garden also engages in educational outreach, with a focus on teaching children and families how to grow healthy food. “If you start someone early enough, it’s amazing what habits might form,” said Charlie. “I have people come up to me all the time who had experiences with the garden when they were younger.” Building healthy habits is a central goal of Charlie’s work. He works with Giles County, Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, and Carilion Clinic to put on programs that teach people how to grow and cook healthy food. The organization also promotes holistic healthy habits by incorporating yoga and mindfulness lessons. Each day, Charlie thinks about the legacy of his work in the garden. His goal is to have an impact on future generations because of what garden visitors learn today. Growing Food & Relationships

In 2014, the Thrive network emerged from conversations about how to get fresh food to NRV food pantries. Today, the network connects dozens of partners in addressing issues around food security and food access, including finding innovative ways to work together, informing the community about services available to them, and problem-solving together. One way our region is addressing the complex issues around food is through community gardens that serve residents in different ways. In the Giles Community Garden, children learn how to tend to the garden during lessons that also incorporate play and encouraging trying foods grown in the garden.



Photo courtesy of Charlie Herbert

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