Community Gardens

The initiative, “Community Gardens,” relates to MAP Initiative 5: Managing Community Resources; because community gardens promote the use of empty lots by the residents in a sustainable way. It relates specifically to Action 6: Implement models of sustainable design around the city; which discusses the creation of a park and/or other sustainable projects that will improve community amenities and educate the community about better practices. TPA residents have already shown interest in community gardens. Maring-Hunt Library is an existing example, and other couple of projects are on their way.

How

This initiative was created via a resident’s email to Lisa Dunaway.

Why

This initiative is important to TPA because it can help reduce the total amount of money households spend on food while providing tastier, more nutritious vegetables and fruits. It will also provide the youth with some entertainment while learning gardening skills.

Community_gardens

Figure 1: What the TP/A community garden could look like. Source: Unai Miguel Andres.

What

Currently, TPA has one community garden operated by the Maring-Hunt Library. That community garden has 36 plots of 8’ x 25’ with a rental cost of $20 for the summer. The $20 fee goes towards the library and it is used to cover the water cost. At the beginning of the summer the combination for the shed that holds all the common supplies is given to the members. On top of that, the garden is loosely managed by a couple who live nearby.

Another future neighborhood community garden will be located at the Ross Center. For more information about it, please consult the Youth Activities Initiative.

Another urban garden project happening in the neighborhood is the Avondale Community Garden led by Brian Carless on a lot owned by the Avondale Church. Carless has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the $5,000 required to transform the vacant lot into a community garden open to everyone in TPA. His campaign can be reached here.

Who

The people in charge of the community gardens would be:

Maring-Hunt Community Garden: Lindsay Helms. Helms is the current person appointed in charge of the garden and has valuable experience managing it.

Ross Center Community Garden: Jacqueline Hanoman. As the executive director of the Ross Center, Hanoman will be the person overseeing the whole project as it is her duty to manage all the Ross Center-owned installations. However, the direct management  of the community garden could be conferred to an employee and/or intern if she chooses to do so.

Avondale Community Garden: Brian Carless. Carless has participated in several community garden projects, plus he is the person started this specific one.

New Community Gardens: a person appointed by the TP/A Neighborhood association. The ideal candidate would be someone with experience managing or participating in community gardens.

Where

The TPA Community Gardens map in Figure 2 identifies areas where new community gardens could be located in the neighborhood. All the suitable locations (high to low) were selected from the vacant lots parcels provided by the Muncie-Delaware County GIS Department. The level of suitability was based on the size of the lot because a smaller lot will require less funding and labor. Therefore, the parcels smaller than a ¼ acre were chosen as high suitability areas, the parcels bigger than a ½ acre were selected as low suitable areas, and ones in between as medium suitability areas.

Community_gardens_suitability

Figure 2: Source: Unai Miguel Andres.

Case studies

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network

The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) was formed in 2006 to address the lack of access to healthy food by the city’s black community and to empower members of the community into leadership roles. In 2006, DBCFSN acquired the short-term use of a ¼ acre plot on Detroit’s east-side. They planted vegetables and herbs, developed work schedules, and served as a site on the Detroit Garden Tour. Unfortunately, that site was purchased by a developer, and they were not able to use it after the fall of 2006. In June 2007, they acquired use of a ½ acre lot on Detroit’s west-side, owned by the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church. When they were ready to plant on it, they were notified that the church had plans for its own use of the site. Finally, in June 2008, they acquired use of a two-acre site in the City of Detroit’s Meyers’ Tree Nursery in Rouge Park as the long-term home for D-Town Farm. This acquisition was the result of two years of meetings and negotiations with the Detroit City Council and the City’s Planning’s General Services and Recreation Departments. They have been able to use the site for $1 annually since then. ¹

Detroit_community_garden

Figure 3 – Photo showing a group touring the D-Town Farm. Source: http://theragblog.blogspot.com/.

Cultiva Youth Project

Cultiva is an organic farm in Boulder, CO operated by teenagers age 12 to 19. They plant, nurture, harvest and sell their produce to Community Supported Agriculture members. These teenagers hold workshops on the farm, volunteer in the community and farmers market, and donate part of their produce to people in need in the community. Some of the skills that the youth learn in this farm are how to be more environmentally responsible, how to operate a small business, and how to create a positive impact in the community among others. Participants age 14-19 get paid a stipend of $450 for 10-15 hours of weekly work during the summer, and apprentices age 12-13 get paid $100 for the same period. All the participants are encouraged to be involved with the project administration, public relations, community education, etc. ²

Resources

 

Contact information

Urban Gardening Initiative
201 E. Jackson Street
Muncie, IN 47305
Contact: Jason Donati, Director
Phone: (765) 273-3714
Email: j.debo.donati@gmail.com
Website: http://www.beautifulmuncie.org/beautification-projects/urban-gardening-initiative

Minnetrista Center Building
1200 N. Minnetrista Parkway
Muncie, IN 47303
Phone: (765) 282-4848
Fax: (765) 741-5110
Website: http://www.minnetrista.net/events/farmers-market/

Farmished
2207 W. Wiltshire Road
Muncie, IN 47304
Contact: Michael Wolfe, Founder/President
Email: info@farmished.org
Website: http://www.farmished.org

Office of Community Development
300 N. High Street
Muncie, Indiana 47305
Contact: Zane Bishop, Residential Program Adminstrator
Phone: (765) 747-4825
Email: zbishop@cityofmuncie.com

Additional websites of interest

10 step guide on how to start a community garden

Community garden start-up resources

Vegetables recommended to grow in Indiana

¹ DBCFSN 10th Anniversary Celebration.” Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://www.detroitblackfoodsecurity.org/.

² “The Cultiva Youth Project.” The Cultiva Youth Project. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://www.growinggardens.org/cultiva-youth-project-.