With help, Grow Selma buys garden property

Published 11:28 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

For the past year and a half, the nonprofit Grow Selma has leased the Mill Village Community Garden.

Now, with the help of funding from United Way of Selma and Dallas County, the group owns the property.

The Black Belt Benefit Group recently paid $40,000 to purchase the Mill Village Community Garden from Robert Klinner.

The United Way donated $20,000 toward the deal. The money was donated to the Blackbelt Benefit Group, a 501c3 under which Grow Selma was organized.

Clay Carmichael, founding member of BBG and Grow Selma, said the United Way noticed that Grow Selma was making an effort to better Selma.

“They said that they could see that we were making progress and that we were here to stay, and then they knew that we had been working hard on it for several years,” Carmichael said.

United Way executive director Jeff Cothran said his organization received an anonymous $100,000 grant, and he has taken that money and donated part of it to Grow Selma as well as the Arsenal Place Business Accelerator.

For Cothran, there was no doubt Grow Selma was one of the nonprofits that deserved his

“Everything about it is just wonderful for the development of the city,” Cothran said.

Grow Selma, which strives to educate the community about healthy diets and sustainable food, has not yet reached 501c3 status, but Carmichael said he hopes that will happen in the near future.

Now that Grow Selma owns the property, Carmichael said the work toward becoming a separate 501c3 from BBG will begin.

“We didn’t want to do any of the work until we owned it,” Carmichael said.

Carmichael said owning the property will help Grow Selma achieve its goals, and Cothran agrees that the purchase of the property will be a game changer.

“They have a vision for Selma, and them owning the land lets them make continual improvements,” Cothran said.

“That means other people can invest in it because the project is not going to go away.”

Carmichael is looking forward to continuing the success of Grow Selma.

The Farm to Feast event that Grow Selma holds each fall at Spencer Farm near Marion Junction will take place this year on Sept. 24.

Cothran said he is happy to see what United Way’s contribution will produce for Grow Selma.

“This was a project the board was keenly interested in to invest in the future of Selma in a project that has such meaning for every aspect of our community,” Cothran said.

CORRECTION: This story was updated to clarify that Robert Klinner is the owner of the property. 

About Justin Fedich

Staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal.

email author More by Justin