Monarch receives $30,000 from Bate Foundation for community garden initiative
Monarch, a nonprofit organization that provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges, has recently received a $30,000 award from the Harold H. Bate Foundation, Inc. for a community garden initiative in Craven County.
The grant will be used to help enhance the Monarch Ability Garden Integrating Community and Land (M.A.G.I.C.A.L.) initiative. The community garden – one of three that Monarch will develop across the state – was designed to provide a place for people to gather and learn about sustainable gardening while reaping the benefits from expanded access to locally grown healthy foods.
Organizers believe the garden will help to increase physical activity through gardening, offering the positive health effects from improved nutrition through a series of educational seminars about health and nutrition that will be available on site. Most importantly, the garden is a way to build community and inclusion, according to Monarch officials.
“Monarch is very grateful to the Bate Foundation for their significant and generous support” said Blake Martin, Monarch’s chief development officer. “Their gift will help us to not only grow a garden to promote healthy eating, but allow us to bridge the gap between people with and without disabilities within the community. This project is simply a way to connect people of all ages, background and cultures by providing a tranquil setting for the public to enjoy and integrate with the participants from Monarch’s day program.”
Martin said additional goals are to provide fresh produce to Monarch program participants and the public and to provide education and health awareness through existing partnerships with agencies like the Craven County Health Department, N.C. State University’s Cooperative Extension Service and the Small Business Center at Craven Community College. Volunteers and local gardeners will also share their knowledge and culture with the people supported. Expansion of the garden will provide education for some surrounding economically underserved areas to benefit from growing affordable produce. Martin added the garden will remain financially sustainable through the utilization of volunteers, donations and sales of excess produce on site and at the New Bern Farmer’s Market.
Monarch officials envision the garden, which is a three-phase initiative, to provide therapeutic and life skills for people supported in Monarch programs through accessible gardening for all abilities and expanded community interaction through the creation and development of the garden. Architect John Lucas donated numerous hours to create the design. The Bate award will be used to construct a paved perimeter walkway and a paved patio, enabling those in wheelchairs easy access to benefit from the gardening experience. Subsequent phases will provide arbors over the walkway and a pavilion and pergolas with benches to offer those working in the garden a place to relax, socialize and enjoy nature.
Monarch provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges in more than 55 North Carolina counties. Monarch is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership and is CABHA certified. The agency is an affiliate chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch is “Helping Dreams Take Flight” for people living in our communities, please call (800) 230-7525.
The mission of the Harold H. Bate Foundation is to offer financial support to the communities of Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties and East Carolina University. It will be the responsibility of the Foundation to ensure and carry out to the best of the Board's ability the vision of Harold H. Bate and to administer the charitable gifts wisely to enhance education, youth and recreation and the quality of life for all in these three counties.