Growing High Point asking for community’s help to turn vacant lots into urban farms

Piedmont Triad News

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Growing High Point has been turning vacant lots into urban farms for almost five years. Now the non-profit is preparing for its first fundraiser.

Willa Mays is the executive director of Growing High Point. She explained why the organization is now asking for the community’s help.

“To convert a vacant lot into an urban farm or community garden costs anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per lot. So that’s an investment we make into the community,” Mays said.

After the transformation, Mays pointed out other expenses.

“Just getting a lot plumbed is $2,500 to get water access. Then you have…garden hoes and shovels and tillers. So there is a lot involved,” Mays said.

Foundations, donations and grants help, but a lot of organizations are going after the same sources.

“Grant writing is worse than Las Vegas,” Mays said. “You spend a lot of time upfront, and the awards are great when you are granted money, but there a lot of grants you write that never get returned or awarded.”

Growing High Point’s fundraiser “Let’s Grow Gala” will help offset the operational costs and prepare the organization for future expansion.

“We would like to establish a model farm. We would like an apprenticeship program to teach people to farm and make it a profitable business in their own community that’s close to home,” Mays said.

Growing High Point also hopes the “Let’s Grow Gala” will showcase how fresh produce is making a difference in High Point.

“It’s just a real good time and an opportunity to introduce people that don’t know a lot about Growing High Point and our mission,” Mays said. “So it’s as much as a friendraiser as it is as a fundraiser, and we are looking forward to it.”

The “Let’s Grow Gala” will be held on Thursday, Oct. 7. For tickets and additional information, click here.

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