Organizations team up to create community gardens

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By Breanna Bishop
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

LANSING – To fight hunger and enhance neighborhoods throughout Ingham County, the Greater Lansing Food Bank partnered with the Ingham County Land Bank to create community gardens.

The Garden Project, formed by the food bank in 1983, supports gardens started in lower-income neighborhoods. The project is responsible for the creation of more than 90 gardens and providing assistance to hundreds of home gardeners throughout Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties. The project works with the Ingham County Land Bank’s Garden Program to create even more gardens.

“Over the last two to three years, we’ve seen a lot more partnering with them,” said food bank Garden Project Manager Gabriel Biber. “Mostly that’s because as the land bank has gotten more properties, they’ve tried to find ways to get people interested in gardening them if they want to.”

In 2010, the land bank’s separate Garden Program had its first growing season and has helped to create 36 gardens throughout Lansing and a half-acre urban farm on Lansing’s east side.

The Garden Program was started because the land bank had a number of properties and saw the need to improve neighborhoods in Ingham County, said program coordinator Melissa Lott.

“Developing gardens in these parcels was a way to involve the neighborhood, in a way to provide for neighbors who were interested in beautification projects,” said Lott. “We try to connect to the neighbors who are interested in gardening with a place to garden.”

The land bank provides farmers with soil testing, tilling and seeds to help them develop their space into a successful garden.

Lott said more gardens are added to the program every year and a number of groups have expressed interest in starting a garden with the land bank.

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