Friday, 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!
In 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!