North DeKalb Mall Community Garden
The North DeKalb Mall Community Garden is a 2-acre urban garden in Decatur, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. The garden, which is located on a floodplain at North DeKalb Mall, was established in 2012 as an outreach project to benefit local refugee families as well as provide educational opportunities and promote cultural awareness to the surrounding community. The garden is now in its third growing season and has 27 assigned plots.
The project, which was the brainchild of Taylor Dozier, North DeKalb Mall’s former property manager and a gardening enthusiast, was made possible through partnerships with International Rescue Committee (IRC), Atlanta Community Food Bank, and Global Growers Network. In 2014, the neighboring car dealership Stivers Subaru became a sponsor and along with others helped to contribute much-needed supplies such as a tool shed, tarps, compost and even seeds.
The garden is broken into larger market plots (1,000-1,500 square feet) and smaller community plots (250 square feet). The market plots are tended by a number of refugee families who work with the IRC. In exchange for farming the land, the families are allowed to keep the food they grow for their own consumption or to sell. The garden helps to provide income to these displaced families and allows them to learn from and interact with the community groups or individuals who farm the smaller community plots. Local volunteers, including two Master Gardeners, help to tend the garden as well as provide educational workshops on farming techniques and food safety.
The plantings for 2014 included all of the 2012 crops (eggplant, tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, okra, bush beans, French marigolds, African marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias, mustard, watermelon, cantaloupe, basil and others) plus varieties of kale, Swiss chard, butter crunch lettuce, watercress, mung beans, pole bean varieties, southern peas, tomatillos, collard greens, radish varieties, carrots, broccoli, onions, lavender, mint, chocolate mint, parsley, cilantro, chives, cone flowers, peonies, gardenias, coreopsis, larkspur, linaria and more. Twenty fruit trees were planted in the garden in January 2014 with help from the Atlanta Local Food Initiative (ALFI).
Sponsors & Partners
"Refugee Families Farming Land at North DeKalb Mall", 90.1FM WABE (National Public Radio - NPR)
How to Participate
For information on participating in the garden program or to become a sponsor, please call the International Rescue Committee at (678) 636-8943.
The garden’s leadership committee is currently seeking additional sponsors to help open a produce stand at the mall this summer.