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Creating 500 Gardens in Madisonville

3/13/2014, 3:32 p.m.

Madisonville is ready to have 500 food producing gardens to nourish its residents and workers. 500 Gardens, an initiative created by Sidestreams Foundation, Inc. and the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, is teaming up with everyone they can find to bring these food gardens to the community in Spring 2014.

To get to 500, the group is working to help people and businesses to build these gardens on their Madisonville properties. To make this happen, 500 Gardens, is looking for three types of volunteers.

The first is the gardeners themselves. If you live or have a business in Madisonville and would like to have a garden, you can contact 500 Gardens here: http://sidestreams.org/machform/view.php?id=1619. They will provide you with a garden for a small fee. You will need to attend a basic gardening class, where you will also receive seeds and be paired up with a mentor. And if you want a garden but don’t have a good “gardenable” space at your Madisonville home, 500 Gardens will work to pair you with a community garden plot in Madisonville.

The second types of volunteers needed are people who can help to build the gardens. We’ll be creating 4 foot by 8 foot, raised beds and filling them with soil. Individuals and groups from all around Cincinnati can help us to make this happen in March, April and May.

And third, we’re in need of experienced food gardeners to be mentors. Coaching people through their first year in the garden could bring them a lifetime of joy and food.

“Gardening makes you feel good!” says Karen Zanger, project coordinator. “We’d like Madisonville to change from literally a food desert to a community full of cheap, fresh vegetables for its families. This isn’t a stretch. Look at the Lighthouse Community School’s garden at Ward and Chandler. Until 2013 that was just an abandoned lot. It was the inspiration for 500 Gardens.”

Anyone interested in helping with one or more of these volunteer tasks should go to the 500 Gardens page at www.sidestreams.org or contact Karen Zanger at 898-1313. If you already have a food producing garden in Madisonville, please let us know that on the Sidestreams page too, so we can add it to our registry.

Sidestreams is changing the landscape of communities one garden at a time.

The Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation is a non-profit, comprehensive community development corporation, with a goal is to make Madisonville an even better place to live, work and spend time.