Lawrence, Kan. – It may not look like ideal gardening weather, but local community gardeners have already begun planning preparation for the spring. Common Grounds, a community garden and urban agriculture program, works with the city to issue free garden plots to those interested in growing a garden.
Michael Morley, Assistant Garden Manager of Pearl Clark Community Garden, has been part of the program for nearly four years.
“I had to actually lobby the city to have this be part of the program,” said Morley. “There was some neighbor objections to overcome so we had some meetings and it took about 6 months to finally get this into the program and at that time it was kind of late spring 4 years ago so we had a late start.”
Since it’s conception, Common Grounds has resulted in over 5,200 lbs of produce most of which is donated to local food pantries and a variety of other groups within the community. Elizabeth Keever, Interim Executive Director of Just Food, says they’re grateful for the produce supplied by Common Grounds.
“You think about what is affordable at the grocery store and a lot of the times those non perishable items are the most affordable at the grocery store and fresh vegetables are more expensive so it allows our clients an opportunity to have great healthy fresh produce and to make sure their families are getting the most nutritious food available,” said Keever.
Helen Schnoes, Food Systems Coordinator, says those interested in growing a plot of land can submit an application along with a few other requirements.
“They have to do a site plan, they have to tell us, if they want to build a shed that’s something they can do but within the city code in that way,” said Schnoes. “But they have to have something that is giving back to the community since they are utilizing the community land to operate.”
The city is accepting applications for plots of land up until February 15th. The Douglas County Food Policy Council and city staff will review applications and make recommendations for recipients to the City Commission by the end of February. To apply, visit the link below.