As the fledgling community of Columbia grew from acres of farmland, one organization worked on literally making Columbia blossom. The first community garden plots in Columbia, for example, were cultivated where The Mall in Columbia now stands.
This fact, and so much more, are part of the records of the Columbia Gardeners, which were recently donated to the Columbia Archives. The history and records of this pioneering community gardening organization will be showcased in an exhibit at the Archives, which is located in the American City Building, 10227 Wincopin Circle in downtown Columbia.
A free reception marking the opening of this exhibit will be held on Wednesday, May 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. RSVP at ColumbiaGardeners.eventbrite.com or by calling 410-715-6781.
The Columbia Gardeners were and still are about more than growing vegetables. Their story is about persistence, passion and politics. The first gardens opened in 1969, and a “Permanent Plots Now!” campaign that lasted from 1972 to 1976 led to the establishment of the three county-owned garden sites that flourish and are more in-demand than ever. The organization’s website is ColumbiaGardeners.com.
The exhibit, “Records of the Columbia Gardeners, 1972-2013,” documents the history of the organization with letters, reports, maps, photographs and other historical items, which have been arranged and described by Columbia Gardeners historian Mary V. Gold. Anyone with interest in learning more about the gardening plots and how the organization grew is encouraged to access the collection during the regular hours of the Columbia Archives, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit runs through Aug. 30.
Columbia Archives, a service of Columbia Association (CA), collects and preserves the history of Columbia. The public is welcome to visit the exhibit and spend additional time researching to get a deeper understanding of the history of Columbia. For more information, go to ColumbiaArchives.org, visit the Facebook page or contact Archives staff at Columbia.Archives@ColumbiaAssociation.org or 410-715-3103.