REO TOWN, LANSING, Mich.- The community of REO Town is slated to open its first community garden in May on land leased from the Ingham County Land Bank.
According to the American Community Gardening Association there are about 18,000 community gardens in the United States and Canada.
The property the garden will sit on in REO Town Lansing is at 1111 and 1117 S. Grand Ave. The property is owned by the Ingham County Land Bank but is leased to the Riverview Church. The church is lending the land to the project.
REO Town residents by Megan Wert and Hillary Walilko are planning the garden. They are aiming for a May opening they said.
They held an organizational meeting on April 12 for residents in the area to look at the garden and learn about what they could sign up for.
Walilko said the size of the plots have not been drawn up yet but they would be based on how many people they have signed up when they section the plot off.
Based on how many people sign up for a plot there will be a fee to pay. The money will go towards the upkeep of the garden as a whole. It will help buy supplies such as fertilizer for the garden, the women said.
“The garden project recommends having a fee just so people feel more committed to it,” Walilko said.
People would plant their own vegetables in their own plots but some might want to give more back to their community.
“It sounded like there were a few people that wanted to do donation plots where they plant things to donate to a food bank or organization.” Wert said.
The Greater Lansing Food Bank accepts food donations to help those that need it. As long as the food is freshly grown and not prepared they can accept it according to their website.
The women said the watering system they’ll use is still up in the air. They will either talk to the residents on either side of the plot to install running water to the garden or simply have troughs of water people can use to water their plants.
The two women said they personally neither are exceptional gardeners nor are they going to try to be. They just thought the garden project would be a great way to make the community look nice and have the residents come together in their free time.
Walilko said that one of their main goals is to have people in the community meet new people. They also hope participants of the garden make friends with community members and neighbors that they might not otherwise meet.
Both women said that they have had and still have challenges in the process. They said that not knowing the exact steps they should be taking makes the process slow.
“Not knowing what we’re doing. I don’t think we have a real clear idea of what our steps need to be,” said Wert.
The women said they would consider the garden a success if it comes back next year and if people make new relationships with their neighbors.