We are very proud of this 115 Sq ft Installation as it is our first chance to display our work in a public setting. The reception we received from the community while constructing this living wall was spectacular and inspiring.
The wall is located in the playground next to Findlay market. While installing, kids from the 8 story brick H shaped housing unit, which towers over the playground, insisted on investigating each different type of plant. They remarked on how it beautiful they plants were and how “it feels like we are in the jungle!”
Over the course of the 2 day installation dozens of children (some watching baby siblings) came down to the playground to see what was being built literally in their back yard. Once we completed the kids pleaded us to install the wall permanently, which we will try to accomplish but may not be possible…. Although they might be more upset about not getting to hang out with Lily and Tyler (mostly lily).
It feels amazing to be able to give back to the community with this installation. Even if it is only up for a few days, we hope to continue to inspire and show the beautiful side of sustainability.
The East End Veterans Memorial Garden (EEVMG) is located directly behind Eli’s BBQ on Riverside Dr. This garden houses, Harvesting Heroes, one of only three Veteran Horticultural Therapy Programs in the country. Harvesting Heroes is a partnership between: The Cincinnati VA, The Domiciliary for Homeless Veterans, EEVMG, Urban Blooms, Turner Farms, The City of Cincinnati, Ohio State Hamilton Country Horticulture Extension Office, and Cincinnati State. The EEVMG also is home over over 125 fruit trees, making it the largest public orchard in Cincinnati.
Every Thursday a bus full of veterans in the substance abuse or PTSD rehabilitation programs comes down to the EEVMG. While at the garden, veterans are taught various lessons relating to horticulture, while also learning and relaxing through “hands in the dirt” gardening projects.
The EEVMG also offers unique volunteer opportunities for students, civic organizations, and religious groups. This summer groups ranging from UC Faculty members, and Xavier Students, to Crossroads Volunteer Groups have all came to EEVMG to help prep for the growing season.
In order to finance operations, EEVMG sells Peach, Cherry, Apple, and Pear trees to individuals and community organizations. The garden also sells peppers, herbs, and spring mix to local restaurants all within walking distance of the garden.
The Hilltop Community and Learning Garden (HCLG) represents a new take on the traditional neighborhood community garden and will be located in Avondale at 3522 beldare ave.
The Hilltop Community Garden (as it was formally known) has been around in some form for the past 5 years, as a partnership between the Civic Garden Center and the Cincinnati Zoo. During this time period (phase 1) much was accomplished: land, soil, water access, and a small fruit orchard (10 trees) were acquired (approximately a $40,000 value). This garden was managed successfully by neighborhood members for a few years, however as some of those members moved or passed away, membership declined down to three people last summer and the garden was overgrown with weeds.
This year a new coalition was formed, still including the civic garden center and the Cincinnati zoo, but with the addition of a local nonprofit, Urban Blooms, and the newly established UC community Garden Club. These partners were brought in by myself and Carol Tyler (a neighbor and UC professor) in order to build on previous accomplishments and to realize our vision of a revitalized and evolve this traditional community garden into a new model of community gardening, The Hilltop Community and Learning Garden.
The HCLG (see figure 1) will feature: a native flower section, 14 traditional 8’x4’ raised garden beds free to community members, 4 large display 15’x5’ raised beds illustrating alternative gardening styles (square foot garden, a compost raised bed, and a German style raised bed “Hugelkulture”), an urban gardening section displaying Urban Blooms’ Urban Planters(see figure 2) made from recycled 55 gallon barrels and 2”x4”s, an encased fungus growing area, a strawberry patch, a compost area, a permaculture area(funded by the UC community garden club), a food forest(funded by the UC community garden club), and 100% wheelchair accessible Veteran’s memorial garden (pending funding from a Home Depot Grant). While this garden will feature a wealth of educational examples of alternative gardening styles, making it a destination for school field trips and interested home gardeners, diversifying it from other community gardens. The most interesting and potentially most impactful feature from a community viewpoint, will be 50 extra Urban Planters made from recycled 55 gallon barrels along with educational materials (tips on growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, and herbs) that we will distribute free of charge to any neighbor who is interested.
By distributing these urban planters to surrounding neighbors a buffer of urban farming will be created around the garden, hopefully eliminating many of the issues discussed in the next section. In addition to protecting the central garden; distributing these planters and instructions on how to grow a handful of vegetables will empower neighbors to help and educate other neighbors (as some will pick it up quicker than others) on how to grow your own food in an urban environment. Thus the HCLG will act as educational resource transforming what was a centralized deteriorating urban community garden into a decentralized flourishing community of urban gardeners.