Montgomery County, TN – On July 11th, 2022 representatives from AARP formally awarded a Community Challenge Grant of $12,900 to install a community garden near the Wade Bourne Nature Center at Rotary Park.
Montgomery County Parks and Recreation Natural Resource and Program Manager Katie Netti and former CMC Green Certification Manager Carlye Sommers, co-authored the grant application in March 2022 and received notification of the award in June 2022.
“I was thrilled to learn that we received the grant! My uncle is a farmer, so I learned a lot about planting crops. We want to bring people of all ages and abilities to the garden. Bringing the community together through the garden,” said Katie Netti.
“It’s evident that Katie is passionate about putting the Community Challenge Grant to good use for people in Montgomery County. It is so good for AARP representatives to get back out and connect one-on-one with our communities again,” said AARP Community Outreach Director Stacy Pennington.
Various crops suitable for every season will be planted on the plot. This month and the month of August will be the time for prepping the land, now overgrown with wild brush. The first seeds are expected to be planted this September.
The programming staff will manage the garden while volunteers will take care of the maintenance. Anyone who volunteers to help tend the garden will be eligible to receive some of the harvests at no cost.
“The community garden is another unique way for County Parks and Recreation to serve our citizens’ needs and recreational interests. Katie and her programming team look for opportunities to encourage nature engagement at every skill level and the garden is a perfect example of this,” said Montgomery County Parks and Recreation Director Sally Burchett.
This project is part of the largest group of grantees to date with $3.4 million awarded among 260 organizations nationwide. Since 2017, AARP Tennessee has awarded 18 grants and more than $223,000 through the program to nonprofit organizations and government entities across the state.
AARP Challenge Grantees will implement quick-action projects that help communities become more livable in the long-term by improving public places; transportation; housing; diversity, equity, and inclusion; digital access; and civic engagement, with an emphasis on the needs of adults age 50 and over.
Please watch the Montgomery County, TN, and Montgomery County Parks and Recreation social media outlets for a volunteer sign-up form.