Des Moines Park and Recreation creates community gardens
- Subject: [cg] Des Moines Park and Recreation creates community gardens
- From: Don Boekelheide email@example.com
- Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 10:45:05 -0800 (PST)
Program aims to beautify, strengthen DM neighborhoods
Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa
The city's community gardener program aims to
strengthen and beautify green spaces.
By KRISTIN HOELSCHER
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
February 15, 2005
A green thumb can bring a community together.
That is the philosophy of Teva Dawson, community
garden coordinator for the Des Moines Parks and
Recreation Department. She is passionate about
beautifying the public green spaces in Des Moines.
To help achieve that goal, Dawson is spreading the
word about the second Community Gardener Training
Series on Saturday and Feb. 26. The program is
designed to encourage Des Moines residents to exercise
their green thumbs as a way to strengthen their
"This is certainly a people project; it's about
relationships," Dawson said.
Training will include a range of topics, from simple
gardening basics like weed management to design
strategies, including mapping and landscaping
"But people won't just come and sit for hours," Dawson
said. "This year we are making the training more
hands-on and activity-based."
Between making models of their land and examining case
studies of landscaping disasters, the gardeners-to-be
will play games to learn the dos and don'ts of
The things they learn will result in community gardens
that flourish with the help of numerous gardeners.
"The idea of a community garden is for more than one
person to be involved," Dawson said.
The parks department offers incentives, including $200
for landscaping and one day of work crew assistance,
to groups located within Des Moines that meet the
At least three representatives of each interested
group are required to attend the two-part Saturday
series. Organizers are counting on participants to
share the lessons they learn with others, which will
make upkeep of the gardens a low-maintenance
Members of the Capitol East Neighborhood Association
took advantage of similar incentives through last
year's series, which allowed members of its green
space committee to beautify three vacant lots at the
intersection of East 15th and Walnut streets.
"That area would have been a group of weedy lots
without the hard work of green space committee
members," said Maureen Van Syoc, neighborhood
association president. "I call them our group of dirt
Instead of weeds, flower beds and brick walkways now
occupy the space, and benches purchased in November
will be installed when the weather permits. Van Syoc
said the area, one block from her home, is rarely
"I think the improvements are an example of our sense
of pride in the area," she said.
Individuals who are interested in starting a community
garden or are curious also are welcome.
"Lots of people in the area are excited about
community gardening, but haven't put anything in the
ground yet," Dawson said.
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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