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Indianapolis, IN: Community Gardens Ready For Growth Spurt,says Tom Tyler

  • Subject: [cg] Indianapolis, IN: Community Gardens Ready For Growth Spurt,says Tom Tyler
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2006 08:21:46 EDT

News from Indianapolis, IN and Tom Tyler, President ACGA 1997-2002
April 8, 2006

Hoosier gardener: Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
Community gardens ready for growth spurt
April 8, 2006

After a few barren years, the Indianapolis community garden  scene is about 
to sprout anew.
"We're gearing back up," said Ginny Roberts, an urban garden  program 
assistant with the Marion County Extension Office.
In recent years, the extension office lacked the funding for  an urban garden 
specialist; however, a few months ago, Sarah Besser was hired to  work with 
Roberts. Although some gardens continued, others have gone fallow for  the lack 
of volunteers and support, she said.
Community gardens got their start in Indianapolis in 1988,  when Tom Tyler 
joined the extension office.
"There were some efforts before me, like the Mayor's Garden  Program, which 
were lot rentals," Tyler said from his home in Chicago, where he  works for The 
Care of Trees Inc.
But what the Capital City Garden Project does is provide the  support to 
neighborhoods, cemeteries, parks and others who want to start a  community garden. 
The project arranges for land to be cleared of debris, beds to  be dug, soil 
and compost deliveries, seeds, transplants and other services to  make sure 
gardens grow and the hungry are fed, he said.
"We also worked on teaching about gardening, food  preparation and leadership 
training. The leadership training was not always  necessary, but it takes 
more than good intentions to make gardens successful,"  said Tyler, who was 
president of the American Community Gardening Association  from 1997 to 2002.
No one seems to have a firm hand these days on how many  community gardens 
there are in Indianapolis and what their conditions are,  Roberts said.
All that should change soon, however, because of Angela  Herrmann, a graduate 
student from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College near Terre  Haute. The history of 
Indianapolis community gardening is her master's project  for a degree in 
earth literacy.
"In a nutshell, the degree provides a liberal arts approach  to sustainable 
living. The degree is also about 'this' place," said Herrmann,  41, a native of 
Crawfordsville. "I think (author) Wendell Berry said it best  when he 
outlined the questions an education should ask us: Where am I? What's  here? What 
happened and is happening here? What went wrong here? What could  happen here? 
When students finish the Earth Literacy program, they should be  able to answer 
those questions."
She discovered community gardening when she moved to Rocky  Ripple in 
Indianapolis, where she "began participating, slowly at first, and  soon recognized 
the value of the experience. I see gardening as a hands-on way  to bring people 
into an environmental consciousness so they can experientially  make the 
connection between the Earth and food," said Herrmann, who shuns the  use of 
chemicals in her gardens.
Herrmann is creating a brief historical overview of  community gardening and 
urban agriculture in Indianapolis. She is working with  Roberts and the 
extension office to update the community garden list and to  provide resources that 
illustrate how community gardening and urban agriculture  can contribute to 
community food security in Indianapolis.
She is asking anyone who has worked or is working on a  community garden in 
Marion County to please contact her. "We need your help!"  she said. The Purdue 
University Cooperative Extension Service wants to know  about your garden, 
whether you're growing food or flowers, and to update its  records. Contact 
Angela Herrmann via e-mail at _ang@email.com_ (mailto:ang@email.com)  or call 
(317) 709-3440.
Roberts reports that the extension office also will revive  Plant a Row for 
the Hungry, which encourages all gardeners to devote a row of  their vegetable 
garden for food for the hungry. PAR, started in 1995, is a  project of the 
Garden Writers Association, which has provided millions of pounds  of food for 
the hungry throughout the United States. For more local information  about PAR, 
call (317) 275-9284.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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