Flight Fund: All Things Gardening

Flight Fund Story of Impact: This blog is part of a series on the impact of the Library Foundation’s Flight Fund, an internal microgrant program exclusively for Library staff to launch innovative new programs, events, and services for the community as well as expand existing programs to reach new audiences.

Edible Landscape Installation: Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library

The Need

The Northwest community in Charlotte has been described as “one of the most culturally vibrant and ethnically diverse places in the city”. It has also been described as a “food desert”. A food desert is a low-income area where there is a substantial lack of essential food access. Allegra Westbrooks Regional serves this community.

The Team

Enter Andrea Davis, adult services librarian and avid gardener. She saw potential in the sunny yet underused courtyard space at her branch and had a fresh idea to bring healthy produce to patrons. She built a team of Library volunteers and partners at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Health Department, the agriculture department at Johnson C. Smith University, and the Males Place – a male mentorship nonprofit organization.

The Ask

Andrea needed funds for raised beds and planters, soil, seeds and seedlings, gardening tools, and more to construct the garden. She proposed partnering with Edible Landscapes, an award-winning program through Mecklenburg County Public Health that establishes community gardens and orchards to provide fresh fruits and vegetables in food-insecure neighborhoods. She also wanted to develop a series of hour-long gardening programs to teach basic gardening skills to neighbors so they could start gardens of their own.

The Grant

With her $2,500 grant, Andrea and her team installed six raised garden beds in the courtyard of her Library branch with everything from blueberries, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, and an array of fresh herbs. Her gardening learning series included programs like “Prepare for Your Spring Garden” and  “Build Soil and Make Compost 101”.

053124 AWR Edible Landscape

The Results

The pictures speak for themselves. The garden is flourishing, and patrons are taking advantage of the fresh food. “We even have volunteers come by to weed the beds because it’s relaxing to them,” shared Andrea. “A garden can feed people in different ways.” Her gardening program series helped build self-sufficiency and community and was attended by 27 people.


Andrea has made her mark at Allegra Westbrooks and in the Beatties Ford Road Community,” says Branch Manager Alesha Lackey. “With her edible landscape project, she has worked hard to create a community garden where Library customers will have access to organically grown fruit, vegetables, and herbs. I am excited to see what she will do next!”

Branch Enhancement, Community, Home Page, Innovation, Libraries Matter, Library Locations, Partnerships

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