Let’s Grow Community Gardening – In the Heights and Cuyahoga County
Last week I attended the Let’s Grow Community Gardening event at the Cleveland Heights Public Library. The event was organized by Sustainable Heights, a local citizen group that promotes sustainability in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, OH.
The meeting consisted of a overview of community garden, an introduction to the 5 plus community gardens that are in the area, updates about the City and Community Gardens, and then concluded with time where people could meet and greet with others who live near them – to find out about making a new garden, or to learn more about existing gardens.
A member from OSU extension program was there- and she give a brief overview of the mini-grants, classes, and other resources that are available to new and existing community gardens.
One recent update that was discussed was the new ordiance in City Heights that allows property owners living next to a vacant lot – the ability to buy the land for $100 plus closing costs. Currently the city of Cleveland Heights owns several vacant, residential lots around the city, and it is predicted that the number will grow as more homes destroyed in the foreclosure crisis are bought by the city through various grants and are demolished. These residents will now be able buy the spaces at a low cost and increase the size of their yards, plant trees or create a garden. Currently it is reported that the city owns 38 lots.
What does this mean for gardening? The city is also working on developing a process where vacant lots could be used by citizens as community gardens. This would be great, since it can be difficult to get a spot in the community gardens that exist – they are in high demand.
Currently there are three Cleveland Heights gardens: the Canterbury Garden, the Oxford Garden, and the Hampshire Road Garden. Some of these were started as Victory gardens, and were started during World War I or II in an effort to grow food to support war efforts. Fees for spaces vary from $12-20 a year for water and garden fees, and each garden has its own rules which generally include rules about what products can be used, and responsibility for pulling weeds.
Want to get a community garden space? If you live in Cleveland Heights, contact the city of Cleveland Heights Community Relations Department. Want to start a garden? Contact the Ohio State University Extension Program to see how you can create more community garden space in your neighborhood.
If you live in Cuyahoga County and want to know what Community gardens are around – you can download a Iphone application called Harvest Neo which maps urban farms, community gardens, and farmer markets.