Community Gardeners Alert!  The Civic Garden Center has been informed that it is one of the agencies to receive cutbacks from the City of Cincinnati budget for 2010.  The funding supports, in part, 2 full-time staff members who implement the Neighborhood Gardens and the Youth Garden Programs.  Overall, $40,000 will be lost by the organization.Cincinnati Civic Garden Center lot cleanup

The Civic Garden Center has been the leader in the field of community-based Gardening and Urban Agriculture.  For 28 years they have sponsored self-sufficient community-based projects. 

Currently, there are 44 active garden projects used by 650 gardeners in the Neighborhood Gardens Program.  That outreach extends to over 2000 community members and 17 neighborhoods...quite a record.  Even more importantly, the residents who do the work donate over 1500 pounds of food to pantries, senior centers or their families, teaching them to demonstrate sharing and caring.

The Youth Education Gardens work with six children's gardens, in under-Civic Garden Center Youth Educationserved areas with large populations of needy children.   Those areas are Race Street, Pendleton, Over the Rhine, East End, Northside and Walnut Hills.  There are also six school programs.  While this teaches the children much about food and where it comes from, I think that its main benefit may be in teaching them to work hard for a goal.  Plus, they are being nurtured by loving adults.

What do these gardens do for our community?  First of all, they clean up otherwise abandoned lots and allow neighborhoods to take pride in that work.  The city is saved the cost of maintaining those empty lots and community safety improves when there are healthy neighborhood activities.  It has also been proven that property values improve when homes are close to these gardens.

Intrinsic to the concept is the embracing of human differences and diversity while promoting equality.  The neighborhood builds strong lasting values and relationships.  And, our environments are improved at the same time.

What can you do?  Again, contact your City Council men and women and ask them to find cuts elsewhere.  These gardens create healthy places for adults and children to work together, grow food and create beauty.  As the Civic Garden Center says, "Neighborhood Gardens do not only grow vegetables and flowers, they grow community!"