The 500 Gardens project 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 some basic gardening knowledge, plus someone to coach the new gardener through their first season.
Sidestreams Foundation, Inc., 500 Gardens’ parent organization, has partnered with Lighthouse Community School since 2011. Our initial partnership was successfully building gardens with the students, at first on the school parking lot and later in a nearby vacant lot at Ward and Chandler. This facilitated job training for young people and provided fresh food to our gardens’ neighbors.
Madisonville is a neighborhood on 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 have made this the perfect neighborhood to grow the 500 Gardens project.
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.
Through the Lighthouse projects 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.
Click here to sign up to get a garden, tell us about an existing food garden in Madisonville, mentor, or help build. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to stay updated on garden happenings.