Thursday, June 28, 2012

Save the Date: July 8, 2012 is First Hub Community Garden Tour

On Sunday, July 8, 2012 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., twelve of the best community gardens in Central Ohio will be opening their gates and gardens to the public for the first – and maybe only-- Hub Garden tour. This self-guided community garden tour has been organized by Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing to Green community gardening initiative. You should plan to attend if you are interested in seeing -- or are just curious about -- urban gardens and talking to community gardeners who are making a difference in their neighborhoods through growing fresh produce in inner city abandoned lots, donating to food pantries, providing youth education, job opportunities, celebrating culture and health and wellness initiatives. Community gardeners and volunteers will be on site at each garden to welcome visitors and answer questions. Notably, the tour is FREE (but you are encouraged to support any and all of the gardens you visit by buying lemonade, a token, and/or making a donation).

The SACG is, of course, participating. Our Super Stoddart youth gardeners will be selling the world’s finest lemonade to quench your thirst and quaint children’s shoe planters to add to your own fairy garden or patio. Your faithful Garden Manager will be there beginning at 1 p.m. The industrious Carter couple -- Frank & Barb – will be there before me starting at 11:30 and can also answer questions about the Block Watch flower garden across the street. We will have newbie SACG community gardeners before then who are dying to show you around and be stumped by your inquisitive questions.

Two rules:
  1. Stay on the path
  2. Do not pick anything inside the fence.

July is typically a great time to see a garden, but this was planned before our drought hit;-)   I hope that you will all be a little forgiving. 

The 12 by 2012 Initiative

This GTG initiative intends to celebrate 12 community garden educational hubs throughout the area that can act as sites for educational outreach, be examples of community garden best practices while garden leaders act as mentors to other nearby gardens to establish a strong community gardening network. Through the Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing to Green Community Garden Program and supported by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, this initiative presents Hubs or satellite gardens that can be utilized by new start up gardens for additional resources and networking.

In selecting these hub gardens GTG looked both geographically and at how these gardens are addressing five key mission areas:

• Celebration of culture
• Youth participation and education
• Job training
• Food production and feeding the hungry
• Nutrition programming

The "Dirty Dozen" Hub Gardens

These are the twelve gardens you can visit on July 8 (in any order which is most convenient for you):

Stoddart Ave Community Garden (SACG)
445-451 Stoddart Ave, Columbus, OH, 43205 (off East Main Street between Fairwood and Kelton – a bit west of Alum Creek Drive and Bexley.  You can take the I-70 East exit to Bexley/Main Street and then turn left on East Main)

As you already know, the SACG has revitalized vacant lots into a place for neighbors and other gardeners to grow fruit, flowers, herbs and vegetables of their choice. This garden engages neighborhood residents and children in garden participation and activities, donates fresh produce to area food pantries, and utilizes sustainable practices.

Franklinton Gardens -- “Kathy’s Place”
64 Jones Ave, Columbus, OH 43222 --

Franklinton Gardens has grown from one community garden to a thriving network of 6 throughout the neighborhood. In addition to its organic food production efforts, Franklinton Gardens offers agriculture-based activities, educational programs, and employment opportunities to empower neighbors and build a healthy community.

4 Seasons City Farm Garden of Freedom Community Garden
920 E. Mound Street 43205

This non-profit organization has initiated 12 community gardens in the Near East Side area and is committed to building a sense of community by beautifying the area, revitalizing abandoned lots, creating a self-sustaining and cooperative food production system, and demonstrating a sense of hope, belonging and spiritual renewal through shared garden work. This garden produces enough food to sell at markets and area restaurants.

Highland Community Garden
South Highland and Floral Avenues, Columbus OH 43223 – in the Hilltop off West Broad Street

This garden began as a way to help nourish a neighborhood struck by the economic downturn by giving the community a way to focus their energy into positive and productive gardening activity. This successful project resulted in a unique collaboration among Hilltop residents, faith-based communities, local non-profit groups, and youth programs.

St. Vincent de Paul Pantry Garden
2875 E. Livingston Avenue, Columbus OH 43209 (Behind Bishop Griffin Center) – near James Road

This picturesque project’s goal is to strengthen community ties and bonds among neighbors and encourage Hispanic residents in the neighborhood to grow and share their culture through food. It even has its own greenhouse.

Upper Arlington Lutheran Church Community Garden
3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard OH 43025

This garden is focused on maximizing production by using innovative gardening techniques, resulting in an annual harvest of more than 9,000 pounds. This produce is donated to a number of hunger relief programs, including the Hilliard summer lunch program, Victory Mission, and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

Gantz Road Community Garden
South of the intersection of Gantz and Frank Roads, Columbus OH

This project, spearheaded by Franklin County Commissioners and assisted by Growing to Green and Franklin County Master Gardeners, aids the Bantu Somali population in the neighborhood by providing space for them to grow the crops of their culture. The garden is planning to expand the area to increase access for the Burmese community.

Mid-Ohio Food Bank Community Garden
3960 Brookham Drive, Grove City, OH 43123 – take the first right off Stringtown Road as soon as you get off the I-71 exit.

This garden educated both community volunteers and families in need about how to grow food, eat healthier, and manage their food budgets. With around 1,400-square feet of growing space, the garden has contributed over 3,700 pounds of produce for the emergency food system and features a rain catchment system, greenhouse, and composting barrels.

Weinland Park Community Garden at Godman Guild
303 E. 6th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201

This garden serves Weinland Park youth through our Summer Teen Employment Program, teaching transferable job skills through urban gardening, produce sales, and mentorship. Adults also receive gardening education through classes in partnership with OSU-Extension and Local Matters. This garden partners with a number of hunger relief organizations.

New Harvest Urban Arts Center- Ama Vera’s garden
1675 Arlington Avenue NE, Columbus, OH 43211 --

This garden in the Linden neighborhood began as a way to provide fresh produce for its adjacent café. The garden space teaches neighborhood youth and residents about their culture, and provides art and skills training.

Epworth United Methodist Church
5100 Karl Road, Columbus, OH 43229 – north of Morse Road

With the goal to provide produce for the church’s panty, this project evolved into an opportunity for the congregation’s youth to learn about nutrition while participating in community service. It has spawned several remote sites in two other counties for gardening, programming, and food donations.

Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO) Community Garden
67 East Innis Avenue, Columbus, OH 43207

This garden began as a Native American cultural garden, growing Ohio native plants as well as specific Native American ceremonial plants/herbs. It has evolved into a vegetable garden to supplement the on-site food pantry. A large mural decorates the garden’s edge.

Be there or be square. You know you want to:-)

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