The Empowerment Project Mission:
We are a social justice based, mental health, research and training organization utilizing evidence based
clinical therapies and the expressive arts to heal and transform the lives of women and families in order
to strengthen communities.
Mission of the Community Partnership Garden
We are an organic community teaching garden promoting community mental health, and creative
expression. We are a land based entity encouraging the building of relationships through volunteerism,
education on sustainable living and helping community members reduce their carbon footprint through
composting and organic gardening. We especially promote the importance of enhancing the efficacy of
women, girls and families through education and use of sustainable agricultural practices.
The Community Partnership Garden is a program of the Empowerment Project, Inc, made possible
through a generous donation of land, facilities and other resources from the historic Johnston Memorial
Presbyterian Church in NoDa-the North Davidson Arts District of Charlotte, NC. The Community
Partnership Garden (CPG) is a North Davidson (NoDa) community garden located behind Johnston
Memorial Presbyterian Church, 729 E. 36th Street in Charlotte, NC. The partnership between the two
entities has allowed the garden to become a contemplative and educational public space that fosters
healthy relationships and the synergy that comes from them. The Community Partnership garden
itself, is the centerpiece of a community mental health project that focuses on research, primary and
secondary prevention in mental health, particularly in regard to clinical depression. The Empowerment
Project’s organizational mission specifically addresses the needs and disparities of women, girls and
families within a 50 mile radius of Charlotte, NC. Clinical depression is a major public health issue,
among women, and among women of color, according to the United States Deparment of Health and
Human Services, the implications are twice as severe.
The CPG has several goals of service in the NoDa and greater Charlotte and Mecklenburg county. One of
the goals of the CPG is to educate the public about sustainable organic gardening and the importance
of buying local produce. The CPG is an organic garden: No chemical pesticides or growth hormones
are utilized and sustainable composting practices are emphasized. Other sustainable practices such as
the use of Hugelkultur farming, and permaculture principles, rain barrels for irrigation purposes, are
emphasized. The integration of the expressive arts is integral to the creative environment of the garden.
We utilize the wisdom and energy of community volunteers to help our garden grow.
Another goal is to utilize the garden for therapeutic purposes, and to eventually develop and conduct
research on the effectiveness of gardening as an intervention in mental health. Evidence-based
studies have shown that gardening is therapeutic for people who are survivors of trauma, and those
who struggle with a variety of mental health issues. The CPG has a goal of the garden being utilized
for therapy and therapeutic purposes. The CPG will welcomes collaborations with agencies that
provide mental health services to use the garden for therapeutic purposes. Research also indicates
the effectiveness of art and meditation as therapies. The garden has areas for sitting and future plans
include a labyrinth for meditation.