View PDF July 15, 2009 Ace Coverstory
Lexington Grows: More Gardens for a Better Tomorrow
by JIM EMBRY
When Michelle Obama made front page news with the White House garden back in March, our phone was busy for several weeks with so much unanticipated interest and excitement.
This year we have had the divine blessing to be involved with these new gardens:
1) Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program with the keen leadership from Diane Fleet has developed a small garden and has their sights on cultivating their 40 acres into a working farm with edible orchards, greenhouses, animals and much more;
2) Nelson Ave. Art Garden has been adopted by the youth from the Drug Court who work in the garden every week. Judge Lucinda Masterson who recognizes that continuing to lock up our young people is not a sustainable practice has pulled off her black robe and has joined the youth in getting her hands in the soil — good and dirty — to grow food. 3) Eudocia Jones of Green Ares Park Garden and Sherrie Muhammad of Malboro Park have been the key organizers for these community gardens in LFUCG parks.
4) the Gainesway Community Center hosted its garden opening on April with African drumming leading the way, use of a Tibetan singing bowl to invoke sacred connections and a prayer to dedicate the space.
5) located on Columbia Ave. this new garden brings renewed life to an empty lot
6) several churches have begun Gardens of Eating and they include Central Baptist, Beaumont Presbyterian, Centenary;
7) William Wells Brown Elementary School received a Startup Kit from attending the April School Garden Workshop and has a garden organized by Lindsay Feazell with the after school and summer program, 8) the UK Gaines Center and Transylvania have begun a community garden, 9) the Dunbar Memorial Garden consisting of native plants, flowers and trees is simply a knock out this year! 10) Videographer Cynthia Bryant is working on a documentary of Lexington community gardens with its premier this fall.
30,000 worms invade Lexington!
On June 25 in the early morning, 30,000 worms were seen leaving Louisville and crawling up interstate 64 heading to Lexington. Yes that’s right 30,000 red wigglers were seen crawling on the highway with no clothes on naked as jaybirds, and they
seemed very excited about their destiny of eating up parts of Lexington. These worms did not have a police escort but did arrive safely and came with an enormous appetite for Lexington garbage. Well the worms were in fact truly crawling up I-64, but they were riding in the back of a truck and crawling around in plastic bins. And yes their destined work is eating up a part of Lexington-the food scraps being sent to our landfills.
God’s Worms is a new collaborative project between the Catholic Action Center and Sustainable Communities Network to create a worm farm business and reduce the food waste going to our landfill which is like throwing dollar bills into the garbage heap.
Thirty worm bins have been set up with 1lb. of worms (1,000 worms) each and will be fed weekly with vegetable food scraps from Fresh Approach.
The ambition is to create an enterprise that sells worms, worm castings and worm tea and provide an educational experience for children.
The worms are on a schedule of eating food scraps during the day and making babies at night so we should have about 1 million worms in six months. God’s Worms project will also provide support for other community efforts to set up worm composting bins in schools, homes and businesses.
Call to conduct workshops or provide materials and support. Worms are hugely important in our ecosystems. They can help to decompose literally tons of organic material each year. So when you think of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” don’t forget to feed the worms! Volunteers are needed and are welcome to get involved in this wonderful warm worm poop experience!
Feeding Our People In Need
By Ginny Ramsey, co-director Catholic Action Center
God’s Garden is a new project of the Catholic Action Center that will help feed those in need in our community by utilizing the gifts of our land, our people and community volunteerism. This project is a collaboration of Bluegrass Community Technical College’s PeaceMeal Garden and the Catholic Action Center. By utilizing the expertise of the BCTC Organic Garden organizers and bringing together community volunteers, our homeless who have many agricultural skills, and over 3000 youth who come to Lexington on mission projects this summer, God’s Garden has become a catalyst for learning, volunteering and production of two acres of organic produce that will be shared with groups and organizations who feed the homeless in Lexington and with families in need.
God’s Garden is not only about feeding those in need with organic produce, but also giving the knowledge and training to others so they too may “grow their own” in backyard and neighborhood areas. An educational component for our community
youth and youth from across the country who participate is included in their volunteer time.
Jessica Ballard, the Farm Manager, has added the educational component by explaining the process of organic farming to the youth groups so that while they are the workers in the field, they also are gaining knowledge of how to use the land to produce the best crops. Some of the Mission Groups from across the country have been inspired to take this project to their home states and plant a God’s Garden
to feed their own families in need. In this difficult economic time, we at the Catholic Action Center see the face of those in need daily. In the past 10 years we have served over 2.8 million meals to men, women, and children who would otherwise go without. We are an all volunteer ministry that depends on volunteers and donations of food.
None of the produce will be sold: it is a project to feed those in need and to give those in need a way of helping, learning and having the dignity that giving back to the community brings.
God’s Garden will not only capture that volunteer spirit but be an opportunity for urban volunteers to help feed the hungry and improve the health of many families in need with wholesome produce.
This project began in late April with the agreement of land use from the PeaceMeal Garden. Catholic Action Center volunteers have been able to help PeaceMeal grow their scope of their garden for this year while developing God’s Garden. With the help of Blackburn Correctional Facility, the plowing and tilling of the ground made God’s Garden become a reality in mid May. Since then, the Catholic Action Center has been able to provide: the help of over 4,500 volunteer hours, over $10,000.00 in donations for the deer fencing, built a shed for tools, supplied donated hoes,
rakes, wheelbarrows, straw, mulch, hay, 1400+ organic plants and thousands of seeds that have grown into plants.
Fresh Approach, a workshop for the handicapped, will be helping with the processing of the produce so that the most good will come from the harvest. God’s Garden is an example of how a community can come together to feed those in need with good wholesome food. Info, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859.514.7210.