Outstanding Community Gardens Win 2011 Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards
Three outstanding community gardens from across the United States have been honored with 2011 Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards (www.naturehills.com).
Honored with the Grand Prize Award of $2,500 in plants was the Urban Harvest Program of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma which grows 5,000 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables per year for hungry children. In addition to food production, Urban Harvest actively demonstrates the positive impact of urban agriculture.
Chosen for the First Place Award of $1,500 in plants was Slow Food Chicago’s preSERVE Community Garden, a food-producing garden in a neighborhood that many locals have called a “food desert.” The plants donated by Nature Hills Nursery will serve a vital function in establishing this garden as a permanent fixture in the community.
Honored with the Second Place Award of $1,000 in plants was Aviation Community Garden in Dearborn, Michigan, a garden started three years ago by a group of civic-minded neighbors that has turned a blighted city lot into a shining example of the benefits of community gardening.
The winners of the 2011 Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards are nonprofit gardening projects that are truly making a real difference in their respective communities,” said Jeffrey Dinslage, president of Nature Hills Nursery, which sponsors the national awards. “We are proud to support these local efforts to create and expand gardens that foster education and food independence in urban environments.”
The Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards were created to give national recognition and $5,000 in plants to community organizations and groups who are making “hands-on” improvements to their local environments.
Winners of the 2011 Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards were chosen from hundreds of applications submitted by community groups, nonprofit organizations, and gardening programs from across the USA. Nature Hills Nursery, an Omaha-based website-only retailer that sells trees, shrubs, perennials, seeds, organic fertilizers, organic pest controls, garden accessories and gardening gifts--created the Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards as a way to give back to the communities and people who have contributed to the success of the company.
“This year’s crop of Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards winners proves once again that gardening and horticultural stewarship makes the world a better place,is living proof that gardening makes the world a better place.” said Dinslage.
For more information about the Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards, visit www.naturehills.com.
2011 Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards
Grand Prize-- $2,500
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
Urban Harvest Program
3355 S. Purdue
Oklahoma City, OK 73137
Contact Person: Karen Paul
Urban Harvest is an innovative, sustainable agriculture program that grows fresh fruits and vegetables for hungry Oklahomans who often have limited access to nutritious food. This program began more than a decade ago and serves three primary functions — production, demonstration and composting.
The Urban Harvest program consists of: a greenhouse, used for starting seeds and containing two closed loop aquaponics systems; a hoop house, used to grow approximately 4,000 strawberry plants in a vertical stack system; a vermiculture barn; teaching and production field gardens; a small orchard; and a compost processing area. The program’s campus is approximately three acres. Nearly 1.5 acres is used for field gardens, 0.75 acres for an orchard and 0.75 acres for the greenhouse, hoop house and worm barn. The Urban Harvest area is adjacent to the main Food Bank facility in an industrial area in southwest Oklahoma City.
First Place-- $1,500
Slow Food Chicago's preServe Community Garden
Central Part Avenue and 12th Place
Chicago Honey Coop
2000 W. Carol St #301
Chicago, IL 60612
Jennifer Sandy 312-485-1675
Slow Food Chicago’s preSERVE garden is located in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. This neighborhood has been in economic decline for decades and is arguably a "food desert." The preSERVE Community Garden is on a 4,000 square-foot lot that is now an oasis and natural magnet for the surrounding community.
While the 2010 harvest at the preSERVE garden was a success, it was neither as varied nor as sustainable as the gardeners hope to see in future years. The plants donated by Nature Hills Nursery will serve a vital function in establishing this garden as a permanent fixture in the community. Installing fruiting trees and brambles at the preSERVE garden will serve two purposes. These plants will not only provide delicious fresh fruit, but their perennial growth habit will signify the permanence of this garden. These plants also will allow for structural and design interest in the garden space, making it more inviting to the community.
Second Place-- $1,000
Aviation Community Garden
Dearborn, MI 48126
Contact Person: Barbara Bechard
The Aviation Community Garden is located in the City of Dearborn's Historic Aviation Neighborhood on a 40 x 120 foot City lot which once had a home on it. The home was abandoned and eventually torn down. The lot became an eyesore to the neighborhood.
The city leased the lot for $1 per year to a group of community volunteers, who have turned blight into a thriving community garden. This was the first community garden in the City of Dearborn, and other gardens are being planned based on the success of the Aviation Community Garden.
This year’s community garden project is to establish a bed of fruit-bearing and other perennial plants such as raspberries, blueberries, rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus. Also on the “to do” list is creating more raised beds for growing a greater variety of vegetables and establishing a flower-lined entrance into the garden so that it will be a welcoming place that will add to the beauty of the neighborhood.
For additional information or photos of Nature Hills Nursery Green America Award-winning gardens, call Randy Schultz at 505-822-8222 or send an email request to email@example.com.