On June 8, 2023, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina marked the official opening of a three-quarter acre teaching garden, made possible with generous support from Food Lion and its hunger-relief platform, Food Lion Feeds, founded in 2014 to address food insecurity in the towns and cities it serves.
The three-quarter acre space is located on the grounds of the Food Bank’s nearly 140,000-square-foot new headquarters facility and is named in honor of Clyde W. Fitzgerald, Jr., who dedicated 36 years of service to Second Harvest, the first 26 as a community advocate, volunteer, fundraiser and board member, including three terms as board chair, and the last 10 years at the organization’s helm.
The Clyde W. Fitzgerald Teaching Garden (also known as The Fitzgerald Teaching Garden) was designed as a welcoming, accessible, sustainable space for individual and community education opportunities around related topics, including growing food at home; the health benefits of eating fresh, organically grown, whole foods; native plants and regional growing and harvest times; and more. Raised beds and carefully planned pathways provide ready accessibility for all visitors and volunteers to the garden, which includes home kitchen garden demonstration beds, herb and pollinator gardens, a variety of native trees, shrubs, and plants, and a Pavillion, providing a shaded area for planned workshop sessions. Food Lion associates were instrumental in helping to plant the garden, and, as it becomes established, students participating in Second Harvest’s Providence Culinary Training program will harvest from the garden for various class projects. Kina Charles, Director of Nutrition Services for Second Harvest, summed up goals for the garden this way: “Our intention for this new garden space, as with our entire facility, is to welcome the community to learn and collaborate with us toward improving food and nutrition access and literacy.”
Second Harvest and Food Lion are working together to take action and make a difference in the lives of neighbors experiencing food insecurity.
“Through our long-term partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, we help nourish our neighbors facing food insecurity in the towns and cities we serve,” said Meg Ham, President, Food Lion. “By working together to provide transformative solutions such as the culinary training program and teaching garden, we are increasing access to nutritious food for those who need it most. It is fulfilling work to be counted on as a trusted partner to provide more stability for neighbors in need.”
Food Lion and Food Lion Feeds have been partners with Second Harvest for several decades. The partnership demonstrates ongoing efforts to address hunger in the community.
“Our partnership with Food Lion and Food Lion Feeds, which extends nearly 30 years, is interwoven with our mission in deep and impactful ways,” explained Eric Aft, Chief Executive Officer for Second Harvest. “Their organization is committed to supporting transformational change within organizations like ours that are working to address urgent needs for food assistance among residents, provide pathways to economic stability for individuals and families, and contribute to a thriving and resilient region for us all.”
The June 8 event is a culmination of activities held over the past few months to showcase the boundless opportunities for enhanced efficiency and impact being made possible through strong community support for Second Harvest’s Hunger for Change Capital Campaign to build Second Harvest’s new, Winston-Salem-based headquarters facility. A $1 million investment in the campaign, enhanced by an additional special gift of $127,500 made by Food Lion and Food Lion Feeds, brought to life both the teaching garden and the Providence Culinary Training and Nutrition Education Center located within the facility.
Upcoming activities and volunteer opportunities in the Fitzgerald Teaching Garden will be shared on our Volunteer page.