fundraising and lined up a local concrete contractor in
order to quickly complete the park.
Growing relationships in Wilmington, North Carolina
REALTORS® in Wilmington are promoting physical
fitness in a very down-to-earth fashion and, at the same
time, are helping build a sense of community. Some
of the city’s newest residents are benefitting from the
city’s new community garden.
Located on a previously unused lot owned by the Devon
Park United Methodist Church (UMC), this community garden serves 13 refugee families from Myanmar,
— formerly known as Burma — four neighborhood
families and a local church. The garden’s 18 raised beds
not only provide a source of fresh produce for the local
gardeners, but are helping plant the seeds of a greater
Evan McMillan, former community affairs director
for the Wilmington Regional Association of REAL-
TORS® (WRAR) wrote in a blog posted in Placemaking
in Action that “the garden will be a way for the refu-
gees to feel at home in their new neighborhood and to
create community cohesion, bringing people of vary-
ing backgrounds together through a shared love of
gardening and of place.”
WRAR partnered with the Wilmington Housing Author-
ity, Wilmington Green — a local nonprofit — and the
Interfaith Refugee Ministry to help create a sustain-
able model for community gardens in the Wilmington
area. An NAR Placemaking Grant is helping support
and create opportunities for community engagement
with the development of the Devon Park UMC Com-
munity Garden. Funds have been used to purchase
wood for raised garden beds, tools, soil, seeds and
starter plants. Nearly 90 local REALTORS® also pitched
in and helped build the garden.
Sara Pascal, who coordinates the Wilmington office of
Interfaith Refugee Ministries, says the garden is an important food source for the refugees, many of whom don’t
drive and would have trouble getting access to fresh
produce. It also helps bring together the neighborhood
through gardening and a shared community ‘backyard’.
Across the country, parks and green spaces promote
fitness and activity and provide community connections. REALTORS® in Montana, Iowa, the Carolinas
and all points in between are working together to help
create beautiful and functional public green spaces that
benefit everyone living in the community.
The Devon Park UMC Community Garden in Wilmington, N.C.