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
"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
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 email@example.com_ (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) or call
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
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