The Escalante Community Garden is starting a blog to keep a record of our events, network with other community gardeners and share our garden's successes and flops with the blogging world. To get started, here's our story:
In August 2010, Tempe Community Action Agency (a 501 (c)(3) in Tempe, Arizona) held three focus groups to determine our local neighborhood's interest in starting a community garden. During those gatherings, we filled meeting rooms with community members that were bursting with excitement at the prospect of starting a community garden in our neighborhood. Due to the initial fervor at these meetings, TCAA began hosting bi-weekly community meetings to support the growth of this project. These meetings proved to be very effective in galvanizing our local community, and since then, our garden has flourished.
Since August 2010, a lot happened that we are all very grateful for. Firstly, this Fall, the ECG garnered the support of Tempe Leadership Class XXVI, an organization of Tempe professionals who chose our garden at their 10 month community service project. Also, the ECG was fortunate to be assisted by two local community members: Raul Puente-Martinez, the Curator of the Living Collection and Research Botanist at the Desert Botanical Garden and Sophia Meger from the local architecture firm, Architekton. Raul was able to articulate a beautiful vision for the garden, and Sophia was able to translate that vision into architectural plans, and in January 2011, those plans got approved through the City of Tempe, and the ECG finally gained a home! Finally, the garden has received an abundance of human and financial support from a variety of community organizations and businesses, including: Arizona State University, Bethany Christian Church, the Boeing Corporation, Grace Community Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Desert Church, the Homeschooled Girl Scouts of Tempe, Architekton, EcoScraps, Home Depot Tempe, Humble Seed, Paul's Ace Hardware Tempe, Phoenix Fence, and Sun Belt Rentals.
At this point, you're probably wondering... who is going to get all of the luscious produce grown in our garden? Our community, of course! The model for the Escalante Community Garden is a truly communal model. A portion of the produce grown at the ECG will go to our volunteer members (membership is free, members just have to volunteer at least 2 hours a week for the garden), a portion will go to Tempe Community Action Agency's "Cooking on a Budget" Classes and Food Pantry, and the remainder will eventually be sold, with the profits being reinvested into the garden.
For the past 4 months, our community has been working endlessly to turn our dreams and visions into a fully functioning garden. Throughout the next year we hope to install the following items in our garden: an ADA raised table-bed garden, a series of 25 raised beds constructed of various materials, a cactus garden, an herb garden, a fruit tree orchard, a community gathering area and a community composting demonstration area. For more information about how you can help us achieve this goal, visit our Wish List!
We like what we're doing in our wonderful neighborhood in Tempe, Arizona, and we hope you do too! If you have questions about the ECG, feel free to contact Alyssa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-350-5830.