Dear Community Gardeners,

This is the time of year when I put my plot in the community garden to bed for the winter -- pulling up spent plants and covering the soil with a thick layer of leaf mulch. Many of the programs and projects that I’m a part of start winding down in November, allowing me to reflect on the year and dream for the year ahead. 

I am so grateful to work with you all, to come together to support growing spaces for our youth and communities. Research shows that gardening and time spent outdoors in natural settings reduce stress, support mental health, and improve social relationships -- for people of all ages, youth and adults! I wanted to share a few resources about therapeutic gardening, and garden therapy:

Garden Therapy Healing Through Nature, a quarterly publication of the American Community Gardening Association
  • This edition is dedicated to garden therapy, and features case studies from throughout the United States and Canada. 

  • This Zoom presentation features presentations about the many benefits of gardening. Starting at [23:34], Dr. Lucy Bradley shares specific gardening programs that are underway in North Carolina in collaboration with NC Cooperative Extension. 
Re-Naturing Urban Childhood-A Sustainable Development Strategy by Robin Moore and Nilda Cosco (An article in "Forests for Public Health")
  • Robin and Nilda lead the Natural Learning Initiative in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning in the College of Design at NC State.

Wishing you all health and wellness,
Quina Weber-Shirk
Community & School Garden Agent
NC Cooperative Extension Guilford County 


Growing Black Roots: The Black Botanical Legacy (Monthly Lecture Series from Holden Forests & Gardens)
  • This lecture series will take place entirely online, with a new speaker on the second Wednesday of the month from October 2020 to September 2021. 

  • This 11-part lecture series will cover a broad range of botanical disciplines, delve into the historical legacy of formally trained and self-taught Black Botanists who inspired others to pursue a career in plants, and highlight pathways toward diversity and inclusion in botanical sciences. With this series, the organizers and contributors seek to shine a light on the Black roots within botany, foster a community of Black Botanists, show that diversity is found within this community, and inspire others who may not have considered Botany as a career choice. 

  • Free Educational Materials: HF&G will provide short lesson plans based on each talk, for use by teachers and parents. The videos, along with the educational materials, will be made permanently available on YouTube for public viewing after the live event has ended. The YouTube video description will contain a link to a Holden webpage describing and hosting the Educational Materials. These materials will be aimed at grades 7-12, focusing on the comprehension and connection to the biological concepts and lived experiences of the speakers as presented in the talks.

Save the Date: Collard Week, December 14-17
  • In collaboration with the Culinary Breeding Network we are excited to invite you to Collard Week! Join us for four days of collards from December 14-17th. Michael Twitty, Ira Wallace, Jon Jackson, Amirah Mitchell and Ashleigh Shanti will lead presentations throughout a week of events celebrating collards! Immerse yourself in food history, seed stewardship, gardening, farming, cooking and more, and join the conversation as part of the Heirloom Collard Project! 


Our night-time temperatures are dropping, and while it may be too late to plant outside (with the exception of garlic and onions) there are many fresh produce items that can be re-grown indoors by curious gardeners. Chris Gunter, vegetable production specialist with NC State Extension, shares tips for using your seed scraps in a short video, Can I plant the Seeds from my Fresh Produce?

For more information (and inspiration), read No Seeds, No Problem: Growing Vegetables from Scrap.


  • Does your community garden need seeds? Contact Quina Weber-Shirk, Community & School Garden Agent,