Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Changes in the Hub Community Gardens

As the season changes from summer to fall, we at the Hub are also entering a season of transition.

Beginning in winter of 2015, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard will no longer steward the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation’s Banneker Green Thumbs and Crestmont Community Gardens. MHC will complete the garden season in early November 2015 and then transition out of both sites. MHC will stay active in the Crestmont neighborhood by working with the Crestmont Boys and Girls Club and the Bloomington Housing Authority to offer gardening education. MHC will continue gardening at the Butler Park Community Garden in 2016.

What will happen in the Crestmont Neighborhood next season?
During the 2016 garden season MHC will offer a bike cart in the Crestmont neighborhood with produce from the Butler Garden, a Container Gardening workshop with the Housing Authority, and will continue to partner with the Crestmont Boys and Girls Club.  By 2017 we hope to have a new, more accessible garden site in the Crestmont neighborhood.  
Why are these changes happening?
The reasoning behind the changes are twofold, program impact and resources.
  • Our on-site community gardens at 1100 W. Allen St. are having immediate, daily impact on patrons and there is even more potential for growth. MHC’s off site gardens were developed over many years out of necessity, as MHC didn’t have land adjacent to the pantry. The success of the onsite garden indicates this is the best method for engaging a large number of patrons in gardening.
  • We have heard through surveys and word of mouth that the model of community gardening at Crestmont is not accessible. Patrons either cannot physically access the garden site or feel unsafe doing so.
  • Crestmont requires a great deal of staff time to manage and the growing conditions, specifically the invasive bindweed issue,  are becoming insurmountable.
  • Banneker, while relatively easy to manage, is becoming more and more shaded each year, greatly limiting what we can grow.
  • MHC is facing the reality of limited resources for education programs and needs to prioritize those areas where we have the greatest impact. Transitioning out of some of our off-site programming will free up resources to expand our impact in the on-site gardens.

What is going to happen to the Banneker and Crestmont sites?
The sites will go back into the care of the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation.  Parks will continue gardening on a smaller scale with 2 raised beds in the Banneker Garden.  Parks plans to convert the Crestmont garden back to open green space within the year. Questions about the future of the Crestmont and Banneker Gardens can be directed to the City of Bloomington’s Parks and Recreation Department.  To learn more about the future of the Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard Community Gardens, contact us!

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