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Des Moines, IA: Teva Dawson Community Garden Article.

  • Subject: [cg] Des Moines, IA: Teva Dawson Community Garden Article.
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2005 07:49:14 EST

Published February 15, 2005


Program aims to beautify, strengthen DM neighborhoods

The city's community gardener program aims to strengthen and beautify green 
spaces.

By KRISTIN HOELSCHER
DES MOINES REGISTER STAFF WRITER

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 communities.

"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 
strategies.

"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 
composting.

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 participation requirement.

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 neighborhood project.

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 diggers."

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 empty.

"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.
******************************************************************************
***********************
Try your green thumb
Groups registering for the series must provide the name of the community 
garden or the organization, three or more names of individuals attending both 
sessions and the location of the garden. Only a few slots for groups remain open.

For more information about the series, which is on Saturday and Feb. 26, or 
to register, contact Teva Dawson at 323-8907 or tldawson@dmgov.org.


______________________________________________________
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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