The Rapidian

New community garden available for residents in Garfield Parks Neighborhood

The GPNA is starting a new community garden at 1712 Madison Ave SE with local residents to provide local healthy food and build community
Site of the new community garden in Garfield Park

Site of the new community garden in Garfield Park /Courtesy of the Garfield Neighborhood Park Association

Underwriting support from:

Garfield Park Neighborhood Association (GPNA) is working with several Community Partners on a new community garden at 1712 Madison Ave SE. They hope to contribute to community transformation, neighborhood revitalization and ecological restoration of the area through the active participation of neighborhood gardeners.

If residents are interested in gardening and providing healthy food for their family, GPNA is excited to offer community gardening in the Garfield Park neighborhood.

Educational opportunities including demonstration gardens that will be on site and off site will be available. An option of seeds and transplants to start a garden plot may be available as well as Community Garden tools. It is their goal to have gardener supply storage available on site if desired.

"This is a startup year for the Community Garden. We have not had this resource in our neighborhood previously. The space that is being used for our Community Garden was acquired by Phil Wheeler of 1718 Madison who has lived in and run his agronomy business out of his home for over 20 years. Phil Wheeler is a PhD trained agronomist who will be providing free soil testing, fertilizing of the plots and hands on growing tips to the Gardeners. Phil was deeded the land property, 1712 Madison, which is next door to his home, by the Kent County Land Bank. The property was previously the site of gang activity, shoot outs and other bad behavior. The prior owner abandoned the property and eventually it was foreclosed upon and was acquired by the Land Bank. Phil had previously attempted to purchase the property and was unsuccessful. He went to the Land Bank with his continued interest and was told that the property would be deeded to him if her arranged with a nonprofit for community utilization of some fashion," Fran Dalton, South East Crime and Neighborhood Organizer at GPNA, says.

"Phil and GPNA came up with the Community Garden idea for a number of reasons," Dalton says. "We want to build community, improve access to nutrituious food and enhance the neighborhood's food security. We want to foster ownership and civic pride in the neighborhood, improve and increase physical activity, improve knowledge and awareness of nutrition and reduce criminal activity in the area near the Community Garden. We'd also like to develop mentoring opportunities, intergenerational and cross cultural interactions and placemaking."

 Dalton says the long range goals for the Community Garden are several:

  1. Households will report improved access and incorporation into daily diets of organically produced consumable produce.
  2. Provide an alternative source of income for participating Gardeners through collaborative relationships with local farmers markets.
  3. Increased “eyes on the street” will decrease opportunity for criminal activity in the area.
  4. Increased community involvement by residents on the north side of Burton Street.
  5. Increased knowledge, by participating Gardeners, of nutrition and organic gardening techniques.
  6. Improved communication and interaction between our neighbors within our very diverse neighborhood will lead to many great outcomes.

"We have a very optimistic view toward how this community garden will enhance the Garfield Park Neighborhoods Association target area," says Dalton.

GPNA encourages anyone interested in gardening to join them for the 2015 growing season (Mid-April through Mid-October). The Community Garden will include 5’ by 12’ plots. Fertilizer, soil testing and water are provided. They will have some starter plants and seeds also available to their gardeners. The plot use fee is $35 (with a $10 refund at the end of the season).

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