Sidestreams is the parent organization of the 500 Gardens project. Our goal is to give Madisonville residents and businesses the chance to grow their own vegetables successfully, for a minimal initial investment. This calls for not only getting a 4 feet by 8 feet raised garden bed, but also acquiring basic gardening knowledge, plus someone to coach the new gardener through their first season.
Madisonville is the perfect neighborhood for 500 Gardens for several reasons. It’s a neighborhood in the northeast side of Cincinnati that’s rich with diversity in nearly every way. The neighborhood has a mix of ethnicity, age, income and occupation. It is home to both young urban pioneers and families who have lived there since the 1880s. The large lots, historical roots in agricultural traditions and active community partners.
Despite Madisonville’s vibrant mixture of age, ethnicity, income, and family origin, it carries a USDA Food Desert designation, fresh fruits and vegetables are not easily accessible within the community creating a particular hardship for those without the means of transportation.
We’ve been working with Lighthouse Community School in Madisonville since 2010. Through our partnership we learned there IS a desire for fresh vegetables in the neighborhood and a hunger for people to grow their own food. Enter the crazy and ambitious idea to get 500 wildly successful gardens growing in Madisonville.
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