3rd Annual Lexington Community Garden Tour

 The diversity and potential of 5 community gardens across the city will be showcased in our annual tour sponsored by Sustainable Communities Network which serves as a resource and a support for community gardens in the Lexington area and throughout Kentucky. The purpose of the tour is to promote community gardening in Lexington and celebrate the efforts of community gardens in the area. The tour will give participants the opportunity to see what plot holders are doing to  save on grocery bills, feed their families better tasting and more wholesome food, and in many cases contribute fresh vegetables to those in need in our community.

The 3rd Annual Lexington Community Garden Tour is set for Thursday, July 30 (5-8pm, rain or shine) and will include stops at: The Rock/La Roca Garden, Winburn Community Art Garden, PeaceMeal/God’s Garden, Chrysalis House, Day Treatment Center, Beaumont Presbyterian Church and more! These garden sites in 2009 are very bountiful, beautiful and so full of love! This tour promises to be another inspiring, informative and exciting experience for all! Dinner following the Tour (8-9:00pm) will be a time for sharing information and tasting the local harvest. Food for the dinner will come from local restaurants and potluck. We ask everyone who plans to attend the dinner to bring a dish to share. Check in begins at 5pm., transportation is provided and buses will leave at 5:30pm for the garden sites. The Tour begins at The Rock/La Roca United Methodist Church 1015 N Limestone.

Pre-registration is required at www.sustainlex.org or for more information call 859-312-7024. The Tour and dinner are free but donations are graciously accepted!!!   Co-sponsoring organizations include: Sustainable Communities Network, The Rock/La Roca United Methodist Church, Catholic Action Center, Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community and others.

The 2009 Lexington Community Garden Tour will include stops at these sites: 
The Rock/La Roca United Methodist Church 1015 N Limestone; Church members and residents from the surrounding community began their garden together in April 2007 behind Arlington School but because of constructing the new addition to the school this site is no longer a garden. But you can’t keep Rev. Aaron Mansfield from digging in a garden. They moved the garden location to an empty lot in front of the church along N Limestone. The church also has a big garden on Todd’s Rd on the grounds of 1st United Methodist Church. These gardens contain a variety of vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelons, squash, beans and even peanuts. The gardens also include a variety of community people. The Latino and African garden members plant many vegetables that are culturally relevant to them and provide an opportunity to celebrate cultural diversity. Church leaders harvest vegetables and distribute them to neighbors. Community members are encouraged to harvest and use the vegetables themselves. Rev. Aaron and his congregation have inspired other houses of worship to find God in the garden and to create Gardens of Eating. On March 7th the church kicked our spring growing season into high gear with a wonderful Heirloom Seed Sale. Those seeds are producing bountiful harvests all around Lexington this summer. Rev. Aaron Mansfield (859) 255-0712; therocklaroca@alltell.net

Winburn Community Art Garden located at the Community Action Council at 1169 Winburn Drive is a collaborative effort of Community Action Council, Russell Cave Elementary School, Sustainable Communities Network, Northeast Lexington Initiative and other community residents. This summer community member, Ella Wilson, re-organized the Youth Green Corps with six teenagers employed through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Program They work in the garden weekly and support several other gardens and projects. Will little to no experience in gardening, these young men have learned so much this summer and are a tremendous blessing to our community gardening movement. Bettye Simpson who founded Knowledge is Power also brings her 15 young children to the garden each week. For these young folks the garden is a place of discovery through painting, planting, tasting and sniffing. Also my friend, Linda Stamps of Commerce Lexington, arranged for the 45 high school members of Youth Leadership Lexington to spend their graduation day in the garden planting, mulching, painting murals and painting themselves!. All of these youth who spend time in the garden are learning sacred Earth connections and represent the future of our movement to build sustainable communities. The Winburn Art Garden includes a gazebo built as an Eagle Scout project, beautiful murals hanging on the fence, a rain garden, herbs and perennials, lots of vegetables, 10 fruit trees, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes and lots more! The fruit trees planted in fall 2007 are now bearing fruit with now delicious plums. The grapes, pears and blackberries are ripening as we speak. For more information, contact: Roy Woods (859) 294-5249,roy.woods@commaction.org, or Jim Embry (859)312-7024, emrbyjim@gmail.com.

Peace Meal Gardens/God’s Garden located on the Leestown Rd. campus of the Bluegrass Community and Technical College. This 20 acre site which became available in 2008 is an evolving project designed to link together a number of groups within the Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) and the greater Lexington area in order to build a working, educational farm space for students and members of our community. Peace Meal Gardens will offer an opportunity for students, children, and members of the community to develop a healthy association with local food production by becoming involved in the process. Future plans are to develop the space into a dynamic organic farm, community garden and educational outreach center. Jessica Ballard who recently graduated from UK in Sustainable Agriculture serves as the Farm Manager and Rebecca Glasscock is the BCTC faculty sponsor. Though still in early planning phases of organization and production, this summer with the support of Ginny Ramsey of the Catholic Action Center, Peace Meal Gardens took a huge leap forward. A deer fence was constructed to keep most of the food for human consumption, over 1,000 vegetable plants found a home in the rich soil and more than 2,500+ volunteers from over the USA have helped create this sacred space for gardening and building community. Jessica Ballard, Jessica.peacemeal@gmail.com, Rebecca Glasscock, rebecca.glasscock@kctcs.edu, 859.246.6319, Ginny Ramsey godsgarden@insightbb.com (859) 514-7210.


Chrysalis House 1589 Hill Rise Ct. For several years the staff have made several attempts at sustaining a garden near the community center, but the super tough weeds have always prevailed and snuffed out the flowers and vegetables. This year Director, Lisa Minton with the encouragement of Family Court Judge Lucinda Masterton, invited Weed Buster, Jim Embry of Sustainable Communities Network to the rescue and to create a fun garden experience with the children. Since March the weekly garden experience has been a discovery for the children. With lots of mulching the weeds were brought under control and the garden now sports 5 raised beds with corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, herbs, perennials, annuals and several fruit trees. The kids have eaten snow peas, lettuce and greens right off the vine and have fun just digging holes in the ground. Earth worms, lady bugs and butterflies have been weekly companions. Art pieces donated by Latitude and others made by the children adorn the fence and complement the colors in the garden.  The children are working on a few surprises for those bold enough to take the tour!  Lisa Minton, Nettie Appleby.     www.chrysalishouse.org.  859-977-2502


The Croft:  A Community Garden at Beaumont Presbyterian Church, 1070 Lane Allen Rd.

The genesis of this community garden began the summer of 2008 when Jim Deleo, a church member and friend of Jim Embry read the July 2008 issue of ACE Weekly that featured the Lexington Community Garden Tour. The church had been talking about more direct ways to reach out into the community and a community garden seemed like a great idea with so much open and flat land that was not being used. Erica Horn, who heads The Garden Squad, the committee that developed the garden, says “the land was a former tobacco farm, so the soil was excellent. The Croft garden has 24 plots, each measuring 15’ x 20’ with 4 perennial plots for berries and other plants. The gardeners include 15 families from within the congregation and 9 from the community, including Boy Scout Troop 279.  The garden boasts a large 3 bin compost structure, which was built and donated by one of the scouts as an Eagle project.


The garden has become a focal point for the neighborhood in various ways.  While the gardeners are growing food mainly for their own use, contributing a portion of the harvest is encouraged as part of the garden contract.  Bins have been set up for donations, which are taken to the Kids Café on East Seventh Street and the Hope Center.  “This community garden has far exceeded our expectations,” says Erica.  “The opportunity to meet folks from the neighborhood, the amazing way our plants are growing and the chance to contribute to the local need for food has made it a very rewarding experience.”  Jim Deleo jdeleo@nosonline.com


Lexington Day Treatment Center Garden (1177 Red Mile Place) established in 1998 by Josh Radner and Janet Daner is now one of the premier gardens in Fayette County and a showcase for youth involvement and empowerment. Fred Reed who has been in charge of the garden for the past 2 years says this garden is a model for what school grounds should look like in every school.  He says ”This garden has been a beautiful experience for kids, to get them involved in food production and to come to a better understanding and appreciation of nature—students find that food grows and does not just show up on a shelf. The experience also provides an opportunity to get the kids working with their hands, doing manual labor outside! “ This year the garden is especially bountiful with a little bit of everything- potatoes, tomatoes, squash, beans, peanuts, greens, flowers for cutting, watermelons, cantaloupe, herbs, perennial flowers, raspberries, peppers, gourds, corn; apple, peach, pear, cherry trees; a beautiful grape arbor with grapes from KSU. Some food is used in the home economics classes, the rest is taken home—not able to feed the students yet, because of Health Department regulations. The kids are hoping to cut and sell flower bouquets this summer. They are excited about being included on the Community Garden Tour! Fred Reed 859-246-4370,



Benefits of Community Gardens:

  1. Improves the quality of life for people in the garden
  2. Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
  3. Stimulates Social Interaction
  4. Encourages Self-Reliance
  5. Beautifies Neighborhoods
  6. Produces Nutritious Food
  7. Reduces Family Food Budget
  8. Conserves Resources
  9. Creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education
  10. Reduces Crime-Preserves Green Space
  11. Creates income opportunities and economic development
  12. Reduces city heat from streets and parking lots
  13. Provides opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections