Heights Community Gardens Network to meet March 13
Heights residents are abuzz with excitement about plans to support existing community gardens and grow new ones in our neighborhoods.
The Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) hosted a meeting to discuss community gardening on Jan. 24, and the response was overwhelming. More than 50 residents packed the meeting room to hear experienced community garden leaders explain how their gardens operate, and give residents an opportunity to describe their hopes and plans for the new gardens. Six local experts discussed resources available for community gardens.
Participants at the meeting networked with one another and organized into small groups to discuss plans for new community gardens in several neighborhoods. Nicole Wright, program coordinator for the OSU Extension Service Urban Agriculture Program, promoted community garden classes. Susanna Niermann O’Neil, assistant city manager for Cleveland Heights, presented a new plan to sell vacant lots to adjoining landowners for prices as low as $100 plus costs. Local churches, including Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian; NewSong Church; and Imani Temple Ministries are sponsoring existing or planned gardens for hunger relief. Local pro-gardening groups, including Food Not Lawns, Cleveland, informed participants of ongoing activities in their organizations.
A major goal of this initiative is to provide a mechanism for people interested in community gardening to connect with one another and access resources that support new gardens. To that end, SHN has named the initiative the Heights Community Gardens Network, and has decided to create a Web presence in the form of a stand-alone website at www.heightscommunitygardens.net, supported by a Facebook page. The website, now under development, will feature a directory of area community gardens, a calendar of events, classified listings of available garden space, lawn-sharing opportunities, sharing of tools and equipment, volunteer opportunities, and links to community garden resources.
A second public meeting for the new Heights Community Gardens Network will be held on Tuesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Road, Room A. Everyone interested in seeing community gardening thrive in the Heights is encouraged to attend.
Jeff Coryell is a visual artist, writer, and community activist. He is a member of the boards of FutureHeights and Reaching Heights, and on the steering committee of the Sustainable Heights Network.