OCS Garden Improvements

Summary

The Green Edge Fund officially approved a 15,000$ sustainability grant for the expansion and improvement of the Oberlin Community Services Garden on April 17th 2010.  The grant will fund the cost of tripling the garden’s growing area and creating a raised bed system.  These changes are estimated to increase the garden’s productive capacity six fold.  Additionally, the grant will support the construction of two ADA accessible plots, addition of four benches and installation of an improved composting system. 

Background:

Linda Arbogast, the Executive Director of the garden, has worked to improve the Oberlin Community Services “People’s Garden” since its ground-breaking on April 24th 2010.  Through volunteer labor and community support the garden has become a great resource for the Oberlin Community, encouraging people to, “pick a tomato” and “pull a weed.” As Linda puts it, “The People’s Garden idea came about through a conversation about how to give anyone who needs the produce access to the garden and also to encourage ownership by the people who use the produce. The idea is that there will be a sign stating that the produce is for anyone who needs it and, if you have time, please spend some time in the garden while you are here. In addition to harvesting the food you need, do some weeding or watering.” 

The Oberlin Community has come together to create this wonderful resource for the needy, receiving starter plants from Green Circle Growers, additional seeds and plants donated by Giving Women, garlic courtesy of Elizabeth Meadows and now funding for expansion from the Edge Fund.  The labor for the garden is 100% volunteer, with 15 volunteers needed twice a month over the growing season.  If you are interested in volunteering contact Ed Philips and edphilips@ameritech.net.

            The gardens are located at the Oberlin Community Services building 285 S. Professor St. Oberlin, OH 44074 whose phone number is (440) 774-6579.

Cost-Benefit Estimation:

            The project has been allocated 15,000$ and while the benefits are difficult to measure in monetary terms because the produce will not be sold but rather eaten by community members, this represents a large benefit to the community.

Additional Benefits:

            Volunteers learn gardening practices, Oberlin Community members eat more healthy fresh produce, there is an aesthetic benefit to having gardens in place of grassy areas and we reduce the carbon footprint of the food we eat by growing and eating more locally.

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