Their love of gardening and helping others goes root deep

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Dave Battle knows the satisfaction a gardener gets when they share the fruits of their labor.

It doesn’t hurt that his neighbors, like him, don’t have vegetable gardens in their subdivision neighborhood. But they all still like to eat.

Enter the Deep Roots Mocksville Community Garden.

The Advance resident has been a member of the garden for years, and as well as enjoying the produce he grows in two raised beds, he gets more satisfaction out of sharing veggies with neighbors.

Dave Battle and Joshua Wood haul mulch at the Deep Roots garden.

“I enjoy working in the garden. It’s a lot of fun. I wish I had a place for a garden at my house, but this has worked out well. I love giving vegetables to my neighbors. They have cried before because noone else had offered them any fresh vegetables.”

Gardener Giff Basham knows that feeling, as well. He’s had more than one hug from giving away fresh tomatoes, and has been known to grow two seasons of tomatoes in a single year.

Last year, Deep Roots members donated at least 822 pounds of fresh vegetables to friends, neighbors, non-profits and Fresh Hope. The number is likely much higher, said Teresa Johnson, who sort of took over management of the garden after Diane Salmon moved. Some of the gardeners forget to weigh and write down the numbers of their donations, which is OK, but makes it a bit more difficult to obtain grants and donations.

The concept of Deep Roots, a ministry of Mocksville First United Methodist Church, is simple. Gardeners rent raised beds inside of a fenced area to pretty much grow what they want. The only stipulation is that they give at least a portion of their harvest to the needy, or to someone whom otherwise wouldn’t have access to fresh vegetables.

Teresa was led to Deep Roots after deer continued to decimate her home garden. A Davie Extension Master Gardener, she met Diane Salmons and Beth Dixon, who told her about Deep Roots. After Diane moved and left the job as director of the garden, Teresa agreed to be on the garden’s committee and the director’s job pretty much fell in her lap.

She hasn’t stopped since.

Add to that her volunteer work with the Davie County Arts Council, Pearl of Empowerment, A Storehouse for Jesus and others, and Teresa puts in quite a few hours each week doing volunteer work.

“I’ve been up since 5 o’clock this morning and I’ve been working on volunteer projects the whole time,” she said. It was after noon. She admitted that was the case on many days.

But she’s doing what she enjoys. Teresa grew up on a farm, and working outside and in the garden bring her joy.

The same goes for Sarah Wood, who at age 90, was beside everyone else pulling weeds at a recent garden work day. (Yes, she’s the same Sarah Wood whose plaque is at the front of the Davie Family YMCA. Without her fundraising efforts, the YMCA may not have happened.)

She, too, enjoys working outside, and grows and donates plants to the Deep Roots and Master Gardener plant sales each year. The Deep Roots sale is held at her house.

“I’ve just always had an interest in gardening and growing healthy food,” Wood said. “I still do a lot of canning and freezing of food.”

She encouraged Deep Roots gardeners to grow  more than one season of vegetables, as many prefer cooler temperatures.

Sarah’s secret? Keep moving.

“I’ve seen so many people who just quit moving, and their health declined,” she said.