Highlighting Asheville

City of Brevard Wins 2022 AARP Community Challenge Grant

Posted on 08/22/22 by Margie Sigman


BREVARD -- Brevard, NC, is a community long famous for its many waterfalls and its white squirrels. As of July 2022, it’s famous for something else: winning a $12,000 Community Challenge Grant from AARP North Carolina.

As one-of-only four winning projects in the state, the grant will bring handicap-compliant, raised-bed garden plots to an existing community garden. It will also fund new benches in the garden and a nearby skate park, which will eventually be linked to the Estatoe Trail system.

The garden is located on city-owned property in Brevard’s historically black community. With money and many volunteer hours from the Blue Zones Project (BZP) and Gaia Herbs, one of Brevard’s largest manufacturers, improvements are scheduled to begin in the fall. The stated goal is to create “a park with a purpose.”

The story behind the winning project includes support from local resident and community booster Sara Knapp, who also happens to be an AARP North Carolina Mountain Region volunteer.

“While the grant focuses on the garden itself,” Sara explains, “it is part of a much larger plan to connect different neighborhoods and activity centers across the city through a bike trail system. The City is working to bring the community together, make it a great place for visitors, and bolster the local economy.”

Funding from AARP will be used to construct ten raised beds designed to be more easily used by people 50+ and by young children.

“I’m a senior and being able to come here for fresh produce is wonderful,” says community gardener Barbara Westlund. Not coincidentally, plans are also in place for using the garden to promote healthier food choices through classes and demonstrations.

Brevard Mayor Maureen Copelof said, “This project isn’t just about building a garden; it’s really about building and strengthening community.”


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