Community Gardens

IMG_7013Friday, after the conference, I drove around West Cleveland a little, before enjoying a wonderful tour of Great Lakes Brewing Company. I stumbled upon this amazing community garden in the middle of a neighborhood. I decided to go inside and ask the people about their garden.

This garden has been in here since the 1940’s, when mayors granted a piece of land to be used as a community garden. They were called Mayor’s Gardens. This one changed it’s name to the Kentucky Garden, because the school across the street is the Kentucky Elementary School.

People can “rent” a plot of land for $5 a year. The city provides the annuals. After you’ve owned your plot for a year, you can plant perennials. Most people plant vegetables. There are no pesticides, so the garden is essentially organic. Compost is created on-site for people to use as mulch. Even chickens live here!

IMG_7018In the front are 7 boxes, raised off the ground for elderly people from a nearby nursing home to use. They go there every day, and they always have vegetables or flowers. The people I was talking to said that one guy comes and waters a box, and then another person comes and waters the same box. They have good intentions! It’s nice that their gardens are raised so that they can enjoy the garden without having to get down on the ground.

There are several community gardens in Cleveland, but they don’t get enough publicity, so they’re not used. This one was in a lower-income area of town, but I doubt if it’s used by those people to grow fresh vegetables for their family. I hope that as people notice the ill-effects of fast food and carbs, they will start to use their local community garden. It was such a refreshing oasis in the city, and stumbling upon it was one highlight of the Bioneers Conference weekend for me, even though it wasn’t on the agenda.

Update: The Kentucky Garden has a webpage!

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4 thoughts on “Community Gardens

  1. hey I garden at Kentucky Garden, in regards to low income…the gardeners are poor, middle class, even newer better heeled types gentrifying Ohio City. It’s a mixed up demographic and a good reflection of Ohio City. Most are middle class Cleve’n’ders who grow what they eat, nobody there is rich by any stretch. I am surrounded by a prof., a native Italian, a school teacher, they border my plots. $10 bucks a year for a 20 by 20. Bee hives, fruit trees, etc.There are plenty of very nicely kept Comm. gardens and food network gardens throughout Clevo. KG has been in the PD, many magazines, has a web page, etc. thanks.

  2. Thank you so much! I really loved the Kentucky Garden. I appreciate your input, and I’m glad to see the diversity of the gardeners. I hope more people try to use community gardens, or grow food themselves. It’s better for you and tastes wonderful!

  3. I love that idea of having grown food. I am going to have more veggies growing in my yard, I sure have a big enough yard. Not braggin either. I would share in a heartbeat! I grew tomatoes this summer. I planted 3 different kinds in a big planter that was left by the last home owners. It was so much fun to watch the different tomatoes grow in the same planter and my grandkids both loved picking the cherry tomatoes and eating them right off the vine. I never used chemicals. It really took me back to my childhood years when we all had gardens growing up. I would have loved to have seen the Kentucky Garden with you that you were so fortunate to visit .

  4. I like the idea of the raised boxes for the elderly! I will incorporate that into a community garden I am hoping to start in Ecuador this summer!
    (see groundhogwash.blogspot.com)

    I love the notion of community wisdom and work.

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