Sustainable Sandhills is cultivating a new sense of community in downtown Fayetteville with The Mill House Garden.

A private donor donated land on Hawley Lane in downtown Fayetteville in memory of her friend, famed local journalist and artist Melissa Clement, for the purpose of establishing a community garden and beehive.

Cumberland County is one of the five largest metropolitan areas in the state, but the county has often been described as a food desert. Cumberland County also has some of the highest rates of food insecurity, adult obesity and diabetes in southeastern North Carolina.

The Mill House Garden will provide residents with access to fresh, healthy and affordable food. The garden will also offer opportunities for physical activity and civic involvement. Furthermore, The Mill House Garden will instill a sense of pride in a community that is in dire need of revitalization.

Individuals and businesses will be able to lease plots for nominal fees and sponsor beehives on the site. Eventually, we want to open the garden to community events such as yoga classes, gardening workshops, farmers markets and pay-what-you-can produce stands.

We are also partnering with other local agencies who will use The Mill House Garden to further their missions. Public and private schools in Cumberland County will use the garden as a living learning lab. Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will have an ozone garden on site to monitor air quality. And, Fayetteville Urban Ministry will have a dedicated plot in which they will sow and harvest fruits and vegetables for their food pantry.

Sustainable Sandhills and its community partners are currently in the process of procuring funding for the garden and preparing the site for planting. We hope that the site will be ready for planting by spring 2020.

But, we cannot achieve this goal without YOUR help.

Help us raise the funds to construct The Mill House Garden by donating to The Melissa Clement Memorial Fund (or, as we call it, The Millie Fund) today. Your contributions will be invaluable as we strive for a healthier and more sustainable future for Fayetteville and the Sandhills.