The Union Recorder


May 5, 2014

Garden tour supports citizen advocacy

MILLEDGEVILLE — Oconee Area Citizen Advocacy has been planting seeds of care and cultivating personal relationships with developmental disabled residents in preparation for its third annual Not Your Mama's Garden Tour.

The event is slated for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 10 in downtown Sparta.

Beyond donations, Oconee Area Citizen Advocacy hosts two fundraiser events each year. A concert is held in the fall and in the spring the most popular fundraiser brings in a crop of financial support and community interest.

“This is one of our best fundraisers because it's more than just a garden tour,” said program coordinator Brittany Curry.

For 30 years, Oconee Area Citizen Advocacy has provided support for developmental disabled local residents by establishing partnerships between the disabled and advocates within the community.

“Our advocates do a range of things for who they are matched up with. They act as the spokesperson and voice of their partner, speaking up for them when situations in society prevent them from being heard,” Curry said.

She added that the organization provides the personal level of comfort that developmentally disabled people may not receive in medical facilities and institutions.

“Our program is more about personalism rather than professionalism, giving citizens a chance to connect with the disabled on a different level than a doctor or nurse.”

Not Your Mama's Garden Tour is no ordinary walk through the garden, as the name suggests. There are a variety of sites and activities to enjoy.

This year’s tour feature Elm Street Gardens, Imperial Mushrooms and the historic Hancock County Courthouse. This year's tour also features talks from experts on beekeeping and a collection of Georgia antique chairs.

Elm Street Gardens is a two-acre vegetable garden that began in 2004 as an experiment to see if owners Robert and Suzanne Currey could grow the vegetables they wanted to eat throughout the year.

“Now they grow a wide selection of vegetables and fruits year round just by trying something new,” said Curry.

The tour will also make a stop at Imperial Mushrooms where participants will get an opportunity to look at the process involved in a commercial mushroom growing facility.

With a rich Civil War-era history, the Hancock County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Garden tour participants will receive an inside look into the structure’s rich history.

A self-tour of Elm Street Gardens will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. An antique Georgia chair collection attraction will be available for viewing between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Imperial Mushrooms' guided tours are scheduled for 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Along with a guided tour of the Hancock County courthouse, additional attractions will include Courson's Winery.

Tickets for the tour are $15 and are available for purchase at the Citizen Advocacy office located at 118 N. Wayne St. Tickets will also be available on-site at 15 Elm St. in Sparta on the day of the tour. For more information call 478-452-6968.


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