Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden: A River In An Urban Food Desert

Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden

Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”—Isaiah 43: 18-19.

The US Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.”

The Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden is the new and wonderful thing God is doing in Columbus Ohio.  

An all-organic, self-sustaining, solar powered community garden in an urban food desert

C. Madison (Dartmouth ’74) spent his life creating opportunities for holistic, spiritual, intellectual and physical health in the community. He believed in the ease of movement from critical thinking, careful planning, detailed discussion and brilliant writing to collective and cooperative implementation. The garden, located in a predominantly black, economically depressed community in Columbus, is the ideal way to remember C. Madison and contribute something meaningful, tangible, sustainable and reproducible for the larger community. ~ Paula Penn-Nabrit, Garden Founder ~

The Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden, named for the founder’s husband, is located in an economically depressed neighborhood of a food desert. Local residents do not have access to a variety of fresh whole foods within a 10 to 15 mile radius.

About the garden

“We are committed to holistic health by using only organic soil, untreated lumber, non-GMO seeds, and organic homemade pesticides. We are using the square foot gardening method to maximize our yield with 3 feet graveled paths between the raised beds for ease of navigation and enjoyment. The self- sustaining garden is watered by an above ground drip irrigation system and water is being conserved with our rain barrels. Next year’s soil will be built from the treasures in our composters. Seeds will be saved for next year’s plantings; and we have already built three greenhouses for continuous seed propagation.”

It is primarily designed as a teaching and learning center for the children of the community. The Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden is a place for them to learn; to experience the magic of planting, caring for and harvesting a variety of healthy foods they can take home to enjoy!

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Psalm 128:2

They are growing

  • Fruits: blueberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon
  • Veggies: asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cabbage, collard greens, cucumbers, green beans, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, red potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, Yukon gold potatoes, zucchini
  • Herbs: basil, chamomile, chives, dill, lavender, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme
  • Flowers: dahlias, hibiscus, hydrangea, marigolds, nasturtium, roses, sunflowers, tulips, zinnia

The garden includes a FARMER’S MARKET on Wednesdays and Sundays, to provide affordable, organic, whole live food to the community, and in addition, it offers a peaceful oasis for morning meditation, and a place of relaxation for the senior citizens.

The Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden is indeed a river in an urban food desert. It began as a desire placed in the heart of a ‘Woman of God’. Paula Penn-Nabrit is a dynamic woman who has accomplished so much I’d have to write a whole post just to tell you about her.  I’m not going to do that, but I will say she has also spent her life creating opportunities for holistic, spiritual, intellectual and physical health in the community.

Bringing this much needed community garden to full capacity is a huge endeavor and Ms Penn-Nabrit and her entire community need all the help they can get.

To find out more about the garden and  how you can help, please visit the Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden campaign page HERE .

Be Blessed! 


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About Taylor Gilmore

Certified Spiritual Life Coach, Law of Attraction Coach, and Reiki Master Healer. My purpose is to help you heal your soul wounds, & release the fears and limiting beliefs that are preventing you from living a vibrant, joyful, abundant life. You were meant to soar.

12 thoughts on “Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden: A River In An Urban Food Desert”

  1. Great post. I didn’t realize that I grew up in a food desert until some college interns turned my high school front lawn into a garden. I was thrilled to see okra, callaloo, and tomatoes growing in my old Brooklyn neighborhood.

  2. This article reminds me of my grandmother’s abundant gardens. There was always enough to give away – and we ate healthy food. My grandmoms lived well into their nineties, and I credit their gardens for being the perfect reason they were so healthy. The idea of a community garden is catching on in all areas. I might even dig out my old canner pot!

  3. I love this idea and, like Cathy, I wish there were more as well. Each summer I grow a fairly large garden and donate the excess (which there is always excess zucchini!) to our local food bank. Now my wheels are spinning around the idea of a community garden in my town. Hmmmm….

  4. The Farmers’ Market, a built in revenue stream, is a brilliant addition to a well designed and well thought executed project! Project sustainability is always a worry and have a source of income that is not dependent on any other factors, is critical!


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