Help available for starting community gardens in Stokes by Wallace Williamson, president, Garden Spot of the World Garden Club Reap More Than You Sow is a local non-profit community gardening initiative founded to assist clubs, schools, churches, neighborhood groups and other interested citizens in establishing and maintaining a community garden. The initiative, a 501©3, is seeking interested groups to establish three to five new gardens this spring in different areas of Stokes county and especially around Walnut Cove, King and Danbury. More and more people today are becoming concerned about the sources of their food and how diet affects our overall health. Winston-Salem poet, writer and performer, Maya Angelou, just released her latest book “Great food, all day long – cook splendidly, eat smart” which emphasizes dining on smaller amounts of food that are really savory and tasty. The enormous health benefits from community gardening go well beyond the fresh wholesome vegetables, herbs and fruit that are produced there. Gardening provides the regular physical exercise listed in the prevention of heart disease, obesity, adult diabetes and high blood pressure. It also provides the strength training important in the prevention of osteoporosis. Gardening connects you with people and with nature. Building a sense of community and getting to know your neighbors through community gardening has been shown to decrease crime and increase community pride. Community gardens also provide an excellent method for community beautification and often use flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects. RMTYS assists gardening groups in the organization, soil preparation, seeds, fertilizer, plants and equipment needs. Four community gardens were established last spring through the efforts of the RMTYS initiative and yielded several thousand pounds of produce – some of which was used by the gardeners and the remainder donated to food banks. Interested groups must have available land, a source of water and a core group of motivated gardeners. A special emphasis is placed on youth involvement through church youth groups, school projects, 4-H and scouts. Neighborhood community gardens are encouraged to have a youth section which is managed and maintained by young gardeners. Interested groups should contact the Reap More Than You Sow community gardening initiative at: http://www.reapmore.org/ or they may call 336/331-2564.