Grow a Streetside Food Garden

WHAT/WHY/WHO? – Clement Waters Retreat is transforming a vacant 4-acre lot on the south end of Swope Park into an urban food forest and walking trail, with a street-side vegetable garden. Why is that important? The area is in a USDA food desert. That means that healthy food options are just not available to people who could really use healthy foods to help them have longer, healthier lives. This week’s project is perfect for the person who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty and wants to see the miracles of plant life happen before their eyes.

WEAR/BRING/GET – Wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, and is layered, as the greenhouse can get warm. Bring yourself and a smile!

PROJECT DETAILS – We will be filling seed-starting trays with potting soil mix, pre-wetting them with a mister, placing teeny seeds in each seed ‘plug,’ and covering them at the appropriate depth. Clement Waters staff are watering and maintaining the greenhouse environment as the seedlings grow. In mid-April, the seedlings will be transplanted to raised-bed gardens in the street-side food garden at Clement Forest on Jackson & Gregory, in east KC backyard gardens, and in raised beds on site at ACCPA.

PERKS – Getting your hands dirty in garden soil is correlated with longevity! That said, the ACCPA greenhouse has a sink designated for washing hands. Think of that ‘dirt boost’ for longer life as our gift to you in return for your service to others!

BACKGROUND – In February 2018 an environmental involvement nonprofit, Clement Waters Retreat, acquired the vacant lot that is now Clement Forest. Volunteers from all over the states of Kansas and Missouri came to clear over 400 yards of trail, remove 30 cubic yards of dumped large items, and remove 50 cubic yards of bush honeysuckle. The project took on a social justice element when volunteers realized that much of the waste removed was from the 1970’s, when ‘white flight’ changed the demographics of the surrounding neighborhood and contractors were hired to renovate and update homes. The hired contractors saved money by dumping in the forest behind the houses, convinced that it wouldn’t matter. Now, nearly 50 years later, our organization is saying, ‘The forest does matter, and so do the people living around it.’ We plan to provide the neighborhood with many opportunities to grow fresh food, including a street-side food garden off of Jackson Avenue.

BOTTOM LINE – We’re excited to have you join us as we help nature take back her rightful place in our hearts and minds! Food desert, schmood desert! Let’s make more food accessible to all.

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