Nearly 50% of residents of Lansing Michigan are living at or near poverty levels. In an effort to help residents stretch their financial resources and improve their access to nutritious, locally grown foods, the Old Town Commercial Association is sponsoring the first ever Community Garden project.
VISTA member Chad B. is charged with organizing the garden. He was challenged to create a garden that was in the community and involved community members. Chad was successful in obtaining a $500 grant from the Lansing Neighborhood Association to help jump-start the garden, worked with the Ingham County Land Bank to donate the land the garden is located on, organizes the community volunteers, and is working with local artists for the installation of a professional sign for the garden made from local, repurposed materials.
Currently, five members of the community volunteer in the 30 foot by 30 foot garden, and have spent over 50 hours the first two months the garden has been planted to keep it watered, weeded, and tended to on a daily basis. Badgero, who has his secondary teaching degree and a Masters in Theatre, became a VISTA out of a desire to get more involved in community service. The systems and processes he sets up during his year of service will ensure that the community garden will continue and expand in future years.
For more information about how to start your own Community Garden go to Serve.gov and see our Toolkit on Supporting Community Gardens.