Thursday, May 7, 2009

Growing More Than Good Food

May is garden time. While you’re beginning to plant tomatoes and pansies, this is also a good time to think about the larger social value of growing your own food, supporting local agriculture, and contributing to the greening of our community. On Lincoln Avenue this week, I’m talking with Elsa Higby, director of Grow Youngstown, who’s organizing several projects focused on these issues.

Along with supporting and encouraging urban gardening, Elsa is not only advocating but also helping make it easy for local residents to buy most of their summer produce from local farms. Through community-supported agriculture – also known as CSA – you can buy a share of what’s being grown on one of three area farms. Every week this summer, you can pick up a box of fresh veggies, fruit, and herbs at a convenient site in the city. Grow Youngstown is also offering shares in two local meat producers. Participating gives you lower-cost, higher-quality food as well as the pleasure of knowing that you’re helping support local agriculture and build our community.

As Elsa explains in our interview, all of this is not only about improving the quality of our food, our environment, and our community. It’s part of a global vision about improving the world through social change and organizing. Who knew that what you eat could matter so much?

Grow Youngstown is not the only greening project in the Mahoning Valley these days. As we discuss in the interview, it’s part of an expanding network of projects aimed at planting more trees, building more urban gardens, and helping people who’ve never planted a garden learn how to make things grow. Interested in getting involved? Contact any of the folks below:

Fairgreen Neighborhood Garden
(North Side of Youngstown - plots available)
Contact: Elsa Higby or Hannah Woodroofe

Good Natured Gardening Partners (ages 5 and over)
Competitive/Educational program
Contact: Dave Georig OSU Extension
(330) 533-5538

Jubilee Gardens
(Brier Hill, Youngstown - plots available)
May 21st luncheon and garden kickoff
Contact: Mary
(330) 651-3054

St. Patrick’s Church and 4-H Oakhill Clovers
(South Side of Youngstown - plots available)
Contact: Carla Hlavac
(330) 743-1109

The Urban Community Victory Garden
A project of Concerned Citizens II, OSU Trumbull County Master Gardeners and Horace Mann School
(Warren - 15 x 30 plots available)
Contact: Steve Hudkins
(330) 637-3530

Treez Please
Planting trees and creating urban gardens in Youngstown

They’re hosting a Perennial Plant Exchange on May 16 at 1 pm
Contact: Susie Beiersdorfer
(330) 881-1050

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