Then, it was off to beautiful Franklin Park Conservatory for the award ceremony of the community garden grants collectively awarded by the City of Columbus, Franklin County, 5/3 Bank, the Columbus Foundation and Franklin Park Conservatory. There were approximately 200 community gardeners and other officials (like Dr. Teresa Long, Ms. Seckler, etc.). According to the official press release, there were 76 applicants (all of whom generously received requested product from Scotts Miracle-Gro) and 43 of the applicants received funding. I walked in with some teachers from Lincoln Park Elementary School who had received a grant to upgrade their school garden. There were a lot of other school teachers there, too, from Whetstone and folks from Otterbein College and Southside Settlement. There was a long line to check in (because, if you did not arrange for CleanTurn to deliver your product, you received your donated Scotts Miracle-Gro materials in the order you checked in). It quickly became apparent that this would be a hot and sunny day, so I put on my garden hat to hide the fact I was melting into a very bad hair day. Peggy was graciously shuttling between the refreshment line and the check-in line to make sure we were all hydrated. (Thanks Peggy!). Bill Dawson was also on hand to personally greet every garden leader and ask detailed questions to show-off his memory of all things personal.
The SACG received a grant to build platform raised garden beds, start a fruit orchard, support the Block Watch garden across the street and replenish our neighbor plots. I’ve attached a picture of the very pretty Certificate of Honor and Recognition for the SACG signed by Columbus Mayor Coleman and City Council President Ginther. Of course, all of the gardens in attendance received one. I ran into the Growing Hearts and Hands Community Garden leaders en masse (i.e., Pepper, KT and Richard) and heard about all of the different groups and organizations that send them volunteers to help with their program. The Rebuilding Together Tool Library team also has an impressive produce garden in front of their warehouse and was in attendance (having shut down for the afternoon to pick up their donated materials). I also picked up a snazzy water bottle from the Columbus Health Department and an apron and useful fan from 5/3 Bank.
Speaking of 5/3 Bank, they had dozens and dozens of volunteers on hand to handle check-in and keep things moving. The ceremony was scheduled for May 3 because it was, after all, 5/3 Day.