Community Garden Expansion Program
The Intersection of Academia and Mother Witt - a town to gown initiative . This community led initiative is meant to increase and continue positive result of graduate student participation in research projects based in the community.
The first part of this expansion is the purchase of a property that will increase the number of garden beds available to community members. These new beds will more accessible to gardeners, particularly children who live north of Bradley and east of Neil, for whom crossing Neil and Bradley to get to the main garden is difficult and dangerous.
The second part of the expansion involves the use of the dwelling on the same property. This dwelling would be occupied by up to three (3) graduate students doing projects/research in the north end. We have identified three (3) disciplines for the initial program. They are Urban Planning, Agriculture, and Social Work (MSW).
The fourth member of the team and the permanent position is that of Mother Witt. This position is to be filled by a community member who will live in the adjacent house and act to introduce the students to the other community members and to help identify community members who would continue the projects of the team once the students completed their work.
This “Town to Gown” initiative to house, in the community, graduate students assisted by a local community organizers will allow them to:
Develop trusting relationships with community members
Conduct research (with community members) that articulates their needs
Develop and implement programs to meet those needs.
Serve as a repository and library for research papers and presentations so that knowledge can be shared, passed on, and used as documentation of need for additional projects.
In addition to the above items the existing canning kitchen will offer a space where community members can learn and teach others how to preserve the summer’s bounty for the winter.
The Randolph Street Community Garden is a key site of development for the Champaign community. It is where diverse populations intersect and interact. In 2014, 1,434 volunteer hours were worked. That’s 184 people that came to the garden to help other people grow food, clear their beds, water, share knowledge and learn about one another. Just under 600 people attended planned garden events. People who are black, brown, red, white, and yellow, city residents and university students, church and un-churched, children, men, women, able bodied, disabled, and elders. All participate at the Randolph Street Community garden, where food, fun, and friendship grow and we are building community! The Brethren Garden House is the next step in the continuation of this work.
Your donation will help continue and expand this crucial community development work.
For further information, you may contact Dawn Blackman at dawnblackmansr at yahoo dot com.
Yes, the weather has been really cold but we are already planning for the gardening season. We are still looking for a property to purchase to expand our mission we continue to meet our mission to teach people to grow their own food. We have been given use of more land and we want to build beds to garden in this season.
Last season we had a wonderful group of gardeners. Our canning classes were well received and we even got three(3) new compost beds built. I am posting some new pictures showing some of the fun we had and some of the things we accomplished.
Happy New year!
We had hoped to complete the expansion project in 2016. Sadly we were unable to raise the funds to purchase the building we had identified. That property was purchased by someone else and we are looking for another in the same area. We have raised an additional $7000.00 above the $4154.00 shown and we intend to continue this project for this community. So don't give up on us. 2017 is going to be a year of success for us. Thank you for your help. Keep watching for updates and watch us grow.
As a reminder local givers can make a deposit in the name of Champaign Church of the Brethren at First Federal savings.
Hey Hat, I mean Dawn, what a wonderful program. I'd like to get involved and support you. You Rock. I can help design and build. And I'd enjoy learning more on how you built this up so far, as I want one for my community in east Urbana. Best of love and life to you, hope you remember who I am by that tag 'hat'. Melissa