The Office of Community Health Engagement in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center held a dedication ceremony earlier this month for a new sign at the Frayser Community Urban Garden.
The Frayser Community Urban Garden launched in 2021 as a collaboration between the UTHSC College of Medicine and its Board of Visitors advisory council; the Frayser community, Memphis Parks, the City of Memphis, which offered the land for the garden; and the University of Tennessee Extension Institute of Agriculture to improve access to free, locally grown, nutritional foods, and to encourage healthful eating.
Among those who spoke at the dedication were Frayser community residents; Altha Stewart, MD, senior associate dean for Community Health Engagement, and Kelly Sealey, director for the Office of Community Health Engagement in the College of Medicine; Shelby County Commissioner Charlie Caswell; and Tiara Caswell, executive director of Legacy of Legends CDC. Dr. Stewart shared remarks on the inception, progress, and future plans for the garden, which include the addition of Camille James, garden manager for the Frayser Community Urban Garden.
“This was not just a celebration of the sign, but an acknowledgment of what can be accomplished by community partners when they work together,” Dr. Stewart said. “With the assistance of these partners and the Frayser community, we now have a functioning governing council, established committees, and a garden manager with extensive gardening experience. This is to facilitate the garden’s work, along with community members who are interested in plots for their group. It was an honor to work with all of these individuals for the Frayser community.”
The new sign was sponsored by the UTHSC College of Medicine’s Board of Visitors. “We are so delighted to partner with our neighbors in Frayser to establish this community garden. It is our hope that this will not only yield nutritious fruits and vegetables, but also inspire healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle,” said Scott Strome, MD, executive dean of the College of Medicine.
The Frayser Community Urban Garden Council is hosting its first cohort of gardening classes in preparation for the spring planting of group plots in the garden. The council will begin offering a gardening fundamentals course to the general public in February at the Frayser Connect Center and online to those interested in learning more about home gardening or in being assigned one of the more-than-a-dozen community plots available to Frayser residents.