The Carver Peace Gardens are located at the Carver Community Center, which is between Watauga and Unaka Avenues, near downtown Johnson City, TN.  The address is 322 W. Watauga Ave. This community garden is a project of the Johnson City Parks & Recreation Department, the Carver Community Center, and the NETMGA with Nancy Shilling as the project leader for the Master Gardeners.

The Carver gardens were begun in 2006, with only six plots. Some plots have been cared for by groups of people, like the ETSU Quillen Medical Students, who donate their harvests to local food pantries and soup kitchens. In 2014, they grew about 70 large butternut squash to donate to One Acre Café, a non-profit organization that offers a wonderful meal for a reasonable price to those who can afford it, while letting those that can’t have the opportunity to work for an hour to pay for their meal.

Most of the other plots are worked by individuals for their own use or for donation. Currently, there are 21 plots.

Through the years the ground in the garden has become uneven and rutted, dangerous for gardeners but impossible for anyone with a handicap. The garden has begun to flood from a nearby creek at least one time a summer. Plot boundaries have been difficult to maintain and mowing the “aisles” has become increasingly difficult. The size of the current plots has frequently proved to be too large and unmanageable for novice gardeners or folks who just want a small garden and don’t want the upkeep of a large plot. The overall look of the garden needed a facelift!

SO, this winter the garden is undergoing a renewal!

With the help of the Parks & Recreation Department, Carver Community Center, and many donations of time and material thanks to the leadership of Herb Greenlee, the Supervisor of the Community Center, the entire area will be leveled and brought up above the water level. The current watering system will be upgraded and frost free hydrants added for year round water access. The current plots will be converted to raised beds with a variety of sizes and heights, some of which will give increased handicap access and the entire area will have walkways graded level and covered with chat (crushed stone) for ease of walking or handicap access.

These changes will make the garden more manageable, more productive, more user friendly, and will accommodate more community gardeners who want to participate. It will also be more beautiful and more fun for gardening!

With all this progress we’re going to need help! The volunteer opportunities are endless!

  • Mentoring new gardeners
  • Working in the communal areas whether to maintain the pollinator gardens, help with growing a plot to harvest for donation, or working to maintain the general area.
  • Taking part on the planning committee or the Advisory Council (made up with folks from the garden, Parks & Rec, the Carver Community Center, and the community).
  • Help with education for new gardeners or continuing education for existing gardeners, either in the form of educational materials or in person training (after Covid) or online training.
  • Work on communication for existing gardeners. Create a monthly newsletter or update the Facebook or an Instagram page to let gardeners know what’s going on and perhaps offer educational tips -- like perhaps what should be done and planted and harvested in the garden this month.
  • Help organize workdays, get-togethers for education, and/or just socializing events.
  • Write grant proposals for funding to enable ongoing improvements.
  • … Or just having your own plot to grow vegetables and flowers for you or your own family!

Currently, we have no set workdays or hours, but there’s plenty going on getting ready for spring! 

Contact Acting Project Leader Brenda McKinnis at 423-946-2769 to get involved.

Call now!  We need your help!

Inspiration Photo

The photo below is from the Harvest of Hope Garden in Kingsport, another community service NETMGA project. It is an example of the type of raised beds that are planned for the Carver Peace Gardens.  Check back for updated pictures as the new Carver Garden boxes take shape during the year.