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NDC Helps Build Community Gardens
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NDC Helps Build Community Gardens

South Euclid residents will soon be able to harvest the fruits of three new community gardens, thanks in part to volunteers from Notre Dame College. The College, the city, residents and Whole Foods have been collaborating on the project since the summer. Their goal is to build the gardens at Quarry Park, on Warrendale Road and on Colony Road, with the possibility of further additions as interest grows and land becomes available, says NDC’s AmeriCorps Volunteer Jennifer Scott. 

Scott says the gardens will foster local development and help provide for those who struggle to put food on their tables. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in November that, as hunger increased in 2008, the number of children in food insecure households rose by 4.2 million to 16.7 million. Nearly one in four U.S. children is now at-risk of hunger, living in families that struggle to put food on the table. 

Seniors face the same problems, a study by the Meals on Wheels Association of America revealed in November. The association reported 700,000 more seniors went to bed hungry in 2007 than did in 2001. Ohio ranked 26th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in food insecurity among seniors. 

“Community gardens provide the opportunity for us to grow healthy and nutritious food for both ourselves and those in need,” Scott says. “In addition, community gardens offer opportunities for residents to socialize, learn new cooking and preparation techniques and even save some money.”

The Cuyahoga Land Bank worked with the city to provide the land for the gardens on Warrendale and Colony roads. The gardens, which are the size of an average privately-owned property, were designed by Sonia Jakse of Plant-It Green Designs. They feature individual lots, storage sheds, picnic areas and a large gathering space.

South Euclid residents will be able to acquire personal lots – most likely on a first-come, first-serve basis – in these gardens to grow their vegetables and fruits. The city plans to have the gardens ready by planting season in April or May. 

Whole Foods has already pledged financial and in-kind support for the project. It is the third community garden initiative the food chain has participated in. Funding has also been provided by the HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Plan and the First Suburbs Development Council’s vacant and foreclosed property grant. The city will soon hold a presentation about the project on campus. 

By Christian Taske '07, editor and writer at Notre Dame College.