Cullowhee Community Garden to open soon, helps The Community Table

What do you get when you mix the Jackson County Department of Public Health, The Community Table, NC Cooperative Extension, Jackson County Psychological Services, WCU Service Learning department and The Jackson County Planning Department?  Cullowhee gets a garden.

By early fall, Cullowhee residents will see the first round of plot adoptions go out for The Cullowhee Community Garden, started by Adam Bigelow. 

Bigelow will also be controlling pests, making compost, managing educational programs, managing the garden itself and become a resource for members looking for information as the head gardener. 

“My intention is to help everyone who adopts a plot in The Cullowhee Community Garden to be successful in their gardens,” said Bigelow.

By agreeing to donate half of what is grown to The Community Table, community members can adopt plots within the garden. Only vegetables, fruits and flowers using organic and natural methods will be planted. No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides will allowed. Tools, materials and assistance will be provided.

The Cullowhee Community Garden will be located off of Old Cullowhee Road at the corner of Monteith Gap Road and S Painter Road, across the river from the strip housing, the old China Dragon location and Sazon Mexican Cuisine. The garden’s location is considered within walking distance of WCU’s main campus and Avant Garden.

At first, the Cullowhee Community Garden will have one acre of land, though Bigelow hopes to gain more land with future phases. The first acre has enough space for 60 15-by-30 foot plots, with smaller plot sizes available. 

“Eat Smart, Move More,” a movement to increase opportunities to eat right and promote physical activity, will fund the project with grants and provide supplies necessary for the Cullowhee Community Garden.  They will also pay the garden managers’ first year salary. 

The grant, so vital to the project, was secured with the assistance of Anna Lippard, the Health Promotions/Healthy Carolinas coordinator of the Jackson County Department of Public Health.

After that, Bigelow hopes to secure more grants through “Eat Smart, Move More” as well as other organizations, plus a potential for income generated from future phases of the project.

The Cullowhee Community Garden is meant to provide an opportunity for the community to come together and provide fresh produce for the community itself.

“The garden will also serve as a model of economic, social and especially environmental sustainability,” said Bigelow. 

Others, such as the Jackson County Health Director Paula Carden, look at the garden through a similar stand point.

“Community gardens enhance nutrition and physical activity and promote the role of public health in improving quality of life,” said Carden.

The Cullowhee Community Garden is now open to the public. Student groups and organizations are encouraged, along with everyone else, to participate. Volunteer days will be held at the garden for those not interested in adopting a plot.

Those wanting to get involved should contact Adam Bigelow at 828-226-0398 or at