The Cullowhee Community Garden works to combat food insecurity


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Report on Food Insecurity, North Carolina is the 10th-hungriest state in the country.

Almost 604,000 North Carolina households don’t have enough to eat. Further, almost one in five children in North Carolina faces hunger on a regular basis. Closer to home, 18.9 percent of Jackson County residents are food insecure and 62 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced school lunches.

To help combat food insecurity in our community, the Jackson County Department of Public Health developed the Cullowhee Community Garden in 2012. This donation-based garden grows fresh produce without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. For no monetary fee, gardeners are provided with the space necessary to run an organic garden and, in return, donate half of their harvest to one of the many food relief organizations in the community.

Gardeners have the option of adopting a full plot at 15-foot by 30-foot or a half plot at 15-foot by 15-foot. Tools, materials and equipment are available onsite. Additionally, many donations of seeds and plants are also available for gardeners to start their gardens.

Since its inception, the Cullowhee Community Garden has grown by leaps and bounds. The Garden hosts 500 volunteers annually, most of whom are students from Western Carolina University. More than 6,000 pounds of food have been donated to food relief agencies, families and individuals in need. Gardeners are working 32 plots, with seven plots available for adoption.

If you wish to participate in combating food insecurity in our community but don’t want to formally adopt a plot, consider joining garden staff for one of the many volunteer workdays. Workdays are held from 3 p.m. until dusk on Wednesdays.

For questions about the Cullowhee Community Garden, contact Adam Bigelow at or 587-8212. Find the Cullowhee Community Garden on Facebook by following @CullowheeCommunityGarden.



August is National 

Immunization Awareness Month


The annual Immunization Awareness Month highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV and measles.

During NIAM, the Jackson County Department of Public Health encourages you to talk to your doctor, nurse or other staff at the Health Department to ensure you, your child and your family are up-to-date on recommended vaccines.

The staff also encourages you to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Interactive Vaccine Guide at, which provides information on vaccines recommended during pregnancy and throughout your child’s life.

As your children head back to school this fall, make sure vaccination is at the top of your checklist. August is also a key time to make sure you, as a parent or caregiver, are up-to-date on all the vaccines you need to stay healthy. Use the CDC’s adult vaccine assessment tool ( to see which vaccines might be right for you.

During NIAM and throughout the year, the Jackson County Department of Public Health offers vaccines during General Clinic from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For questions about vaccines, call 587-8232.