Rebecca Richards •
Rebecca Richards

Community Garden Projects Allow City Dwellers to Get Their Hands Dirty


The BELL Garden is on the campus of Bellevue Middle School. BELL is an acronym for Bellevue Edible Learning Lab.

There once was a time when those who wanted to pursue gardening or farming projects had to own real estate that included some real dirt. Condo buyers got the benefit of not having to mow the lawn but also said goodbye to any hope of working the earth other than in a balcony planter.

Today, thanks to community garden projects in Nashville, anyone can pitch in to help raise a garden, chickens, and even fish to benefit their community in multiple ways.


Creekside Meadows condominiums in Bellevue

Creekside Meadows condominiums in Bellevue. Unit 293, now for sale, is only steps away from the BELL Garden.

Rebecca Richards, a Realtor with EXIT Realty Garden Gate Team, thinks a unique opportunity to work the land might attract a buyer for a condominium she has listed for sale at 810 Bellevue Road.  “This unit is one of the closest to the beautiful BELL Garden on the campus of Bellevue Middle School. You are literally only a few steps from the garden entrance.”

Metro Councilman Charlie Tygard has been involved from the start with BELL Garden (BELL is short for Bellevue Edible Learning Laboratory) which traces its roots back to 2009. He says the outdoor laboratory/classroom is designed to teach where foods come from as well as the benefits of healthy eating. Tygard says the garden grows more than just plants, “We learned early on that activities that had motion or excitement created interest for the students. As a result, BELL Garden is the only school garden in the State of Tennessee, to our knowledge, with a flock of 11 egg-laying hens. A future project is the construction/installation of a tilapia pond inside our new greenhouse where minnows will grow into mature 1½ pound fish for harvesting, hopefully in making our own locally-grown fish tacos.”


A group of 11 laying hens call the BELL Garden home.

The BELL Garden depends on volunteers to maintain the raised beds and chicken coop and that’s where the new owner of unit 293 in Creekside Meadows will have an opportunity to get some dirt under his/her fingernails. Richards says, “Hands On Nashville hosts volunteer sessions Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings where anyone, of any age, can help with the garden and facilities.” Volunteers get some of the garden’s yield while the local food bank also benefits.

According to Tygard, the garden also offers a chance to meet your neighbors, “Last weekend, for example, I was paired with two 13-year-old middle school students who helped me hang kitchen cabinets in our new kitchen area. I find this interaction with volunteers to be very rewarding as strangers come together for the common good.”

UPDATE: According to Rebecca Richards, 293 Creekside Meadows has been sold. Bellevue residents needing real estate services can contact Rebecca at 615-504-7425 or 615-672-6729.


BELL Garden on Facebook

Hands On Nashville volunteer information

Metro Councilman Charlie Tygard

Rebecca Richards, EXIT Realty Garden Gate Team