About the Garden: The Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden

Named 2015 Community Garden of the Year and selected as one of 12 Hub Gardens in Central Ohio by Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, CMNMG@CCAF was created as a living legacy to Charles Madison Nabrit’s commitment to holistic health, self-­determination, education and community service.

Our mission is to:
(1) increase affordable access to organic produce;
(2) increase awareness of the spiritual and cultural connections to gardening within black and brown communities;
(3) increase children’s exposure to functional STEM studies; and
(4) increase economic self­-sufficiency and sustainability in the garden, in our homes and in our community.

Opened in 2014 in the midst of an urban food desert, CMNMG@CCAF is a 3,850 square foot, organic, bio­diverse, self­-sustaining space behind a church housing an historic, 105+ year­-old, predominantly black congregation, descendents of the African diaspora to the Americas. Our hashtags speak to our spiritual and cultural heritage: #HeStartedUsinaGarden and #WeCameHeretoCultivate.

The USDA Economic Research Service highlights CMNMG@CCAF’s zip code, 43219 as “low income, low access”…33% of the households are low income, 13.2% are without access to a car and the distance to the two nearest supermarkets (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) is 4.3 miles.

CMNMG@CCAF fights urban food deserts by increasing easy access to affordable, whole, live food. In partnership with two other local organic gardens, Four Seasons City Farm and Fostering in the Garden/Linden Garden Association, CMNMG@CCAF holds a seasonal, onsite, weekly Farmer’s Market and Bake Sale where all the organic produce is sold for $1.00 a pound!

CMNMG@CCAF is bio­diverse. We grow:
Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Garlic, Green Beans, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Shallots, Sugar Snap Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Zucchini;

Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Strawberries and Watermelons;

Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme; and

Daffodils, Gardenia, Hibiscus, Hydrangea, Nasturtium, Peonies, Roses, Tulips and Zinnias.

Beyond providing a convenient, familiar and safe place to buy affordable, organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and fragrant flowers, the Farmer’s Market & Bake Sale also serves as a place to teach the entrepreneurial skills necessary to run a small business. Finally, a good deal of the organic produce is used for canning, pickling and preserving while many of the herbs are used to demonstrate ways to deliciously season food without adding excess salt.

CMNMG@CCAF’s commitment to clean food was evident from its inception. The 38 raised beds are constructed from untreated lumber, lined with cardboard and newspaper for organic weed control and filled with 40 tons of organic soil. Using the square foot gardening method to maximize yield allows for companion planting and integrative pest management, thus eliminating the need for non­organic, chemical and potentially harmful pesticides. The 4 ft walkways between the beds are lined with cardboard and covered with pea gravel, again for organic weed control. Providing walkways around each bed encourages active participation and visual enjoyment from community volunteers and visitors both young and and old during the various stages of planning, planting, weeding, pruning and harvesting in the garden.

CMNMG@CCAF’s intersecting commitment to beauty and bio­diversity is critical and communicated through the senses as visual aesthetics merge with scents of various plants and the melodic sounds of myriad pollinators drawn to the space, which includes an 100 square foot, officially certified “Monarch WayStation”.

Along with the weekly, seasonal, onsite Farmer’s Market & Bake Sale CMNMG@CCAF also hosts free weekly “Science in the Garden” classes for children in the community. 2015 classes included Square Foot Gardening; and in honor of the UN General Assembly’s Declaration of 2015 as “International Year of Soils”, CMNMG@CCAF offered ‘Worms are Wonderful’ ­Vermiculture Composting for Kids. We also offered Water Conservation: How to Build an Olla; and the ever­popular Recycling & Organic Chemistry/DIY Series. (The children recycled coffee grounds for Nitrogen, dried banana peels for Potassium, dried egg shells for Calcium Carbonate to be added to Vinegar to make Calcium, and epsom salts for Magnesium which were mixed to make organic soil amendments. They also mixed up batches of Grape Kool­Aid, Methyl Anthranilate, as a bird repellent to protect the blackberry, blueberry and strawberry plants.)

CMNMG@CCAF’s current partners including The Church of Christ of the Apostolic Faith; Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ “Growing to Green”; The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University; The Four Seasons City Farm and Fostering in the Garden/Linden Garden Association and GCGC, The Greater Columbus Gardening Coalition.

CMNMG@CCAF’s funding and collaborating partners including The United Way of Central Ohio; The Columbus Foundation; Scotts MiracleGro; Lowe’s of Central Columbus; Kurtz Bros.; USDA; Central State University (an HBCU); The City of Columbus, Public Health Department; and Local Matters have all made our annual gardening conferences hugely successful, informative and FREE.

We welcomed almost 100 people to our 2015 urban conference, Nature, Nurture and Nutrition featuring workshops, panels and keynote addresses by Mr. Jason Brown, former NFL star­ & current farmer and Babson College Professor Frederick Douglas Opie, author of Zora Neale Hurston on Florida Food, Recipes, Remedies & Simple Pleasures.

Here’s a link to conference photos, http://bit.ly/1QlyYzi

CMNMG@CCAF is a component of Telos Training, Inc. www.telosinc.org, a 501(c)(3). Paula Penn­-Nabrit, the widow of Charles Madison Nabrit along with Charles and Damon Nabrit, his eldest sons (and Princeton alums), co­-manage the project with artistic input from youngest son Evan Nabrit (Amherst and UPenn, MFA) who works as a graphic design artist in the Philadelphia office of Jacobs Engineering.

Please “Like” The CMN Memorial Garden on Facebook and for more information please contact: Paula Penn­Nabrit Founder, Telos Training, Inc. www.telosinc.org info@telosinc.org 614­TELOSTG (614­835­6784) Co­Manager, CMNMG@CCAF 1200 Brentnell Avenue Columbus, OH 43219

In terms of personal commitment, I’ve transferred all rights to each of my books to Telos Training, Inc. so the proceeds, including those from the most popular, Morning by Morning: How We Home-Schooled Our African-American Sons to the Ivy League, Random House @2003 and 2012’s The Power of a Virtuous Woman, can be used to help fund all the classes, conferences and work of Telos Training, Inc.

Yeah, there’s a lot going on, but I’m serious about that “3-D Life”…