Starting a Community Garden

Community Health
Session 1

Staring a Community Garden
University Hall 103
Ms. Patricia Weaver, Volunteer Garden Manager, Indiana State University
Dr. Jennifer Latimer, Associate Professor of Geology, Indiana State University
Mr. James Twitchell, Community Benefit Specialist, Union Hospital

This session will discuss the basics of starting a community garden and any issues that may arise. Attendees can expect to learn about how to keep everyone informed, setting up classes and workshops, organizing volunteer events, general management needs, communication with the media, and general record keeping.

The Indiana State Community Garden, founded in 2008, started with 50 plots and 54 gardeners. After six years of operation, they have tripled in size and currently have 155 plots and 122 gardeners growing produce to serve an additional 160 family members. As the garden has grown, so has the revitalization of several previous vacant lots. The flourishing completely organic garden plots can be viewed from several blocks away. Participants are encouraged to donate a portion of the produce raised to the food pantry of their choice.

The Union Hospital Community Garden is currently in its second year of operation. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated hospitals complete a community health needs assessment every three years. That assessment identified obesity and childhood obesity as a major health concern in the Wabash Valley. In addition to this, the community has higher than average poverty rates and many residents lack access to healthy fruits and vegetables. An organic community garden was a cost-effective solution to this issue. The Union Hospital Community Garden serves low-income residents in the Wabash Valley. It has also been well received by employees of Union Hospital and UAP Clinic.