The Near East House, the newest Praxis intentional community, partnered in the Woodland Park neighborhood with St. Philip’s Columbus, is the proud recipient of a 2016 Young Adult United Thank Offering Grant to start a new community garden.
The Woodland Park Community Garden purposes to serve the residents of the neighborhood, both by (1) being a space for a stratified community to come together and work alongside one another toward a common goal, building fellowship among people with different backgrounds and (2) providing healthy, affordable food to a community that lacks access to fresh produce. The garden is purposefully a community garden, built and maintained by and for the residents of Woodland Park and is intended to attract and empower neighborhood gardeners to work and teach others in the space.
The community garden aims to bring together the neighborhood residents around the care for creation, care for each other, and care for the life of the earth in an urban environment. The garden will restore and safeguard not only the integrity of the physical earth of a vacant and overgrown city lot, but also that of the community that works to care for it. This garden, being in an urban setting, will remind those who witness it of the earth beneath the concrete streets. It will create a hopeful reminder of what the earth does naturally – grow and renew life. This is especially important in a neighborhood shot through with suspicion and fear of change. A thriving garden will be a symbol of hope and renewal, showing that change can be positive and strengthen community relationships.
Woodland Park is an overlooked residential area sandwiched between a highly developed suburb to the east and a gentrifying neighborhood to the south. Woodland Park itself has clear demarcations between incomes of households but a lack of physical barriers (i.e. rundown and vacant homes are one block over from mansions). Poor and wealthy people live so close to each other but do not have shared space or cause to come together. The community garden will offer that space and cause. Both will work in partnership with one another and with other residents of Woodland Park to build and maintain the garden. St. Philip’s will employ neighborhood youth. The youth will be responsible for maintenance of the garden and harvesting produce in the summer, having the opportunity to learn new skills, develop professionally, and earn income. Finally, excess produce from the garden will be donated to the St. Philip’s food pantry, which serves 200 households (made up of mostly Woodland Park residents) each month.
St. Philip’s and the Near East House are excited to work together in living out their call to love and serve the neighborhood of Woodland Park!
Interested in getting involved? Join us for our work days listed below at 1658 Harvard Ave Columbus, OH or Contact Jed Dearing at 614.327.4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org