April 27, 2010
Breena Holland, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh, and a member of the university’s Environmental Initiative, asked us to share this link to PolicyLink’s home page, which includes information about community gardening and related issues. PolicyLink is a national research and action institute committed to advancing economic and social equity. The institute strives to contribute to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity, where everyone participates and prospers. If successful, these communities offer access to quality jobs, affordable housing, good schools, transportation, and the benefits of healthy food and physical activity. Guided by the belief that those closest to the nation’s challenges are central to finding solutions, PolicyLink relies on the wisdom, voice, and experience of local residents and organizations. They have coined the phrase “Lifting Up What Works” as a way to focus attention on how people are successfully using local, state, and federal policy to create conditions that benefit everyone, especially those in low-income communities and communities of color. PolicyLink is guided by the firm belief that equity – just, fair, and green inclusion – must be the basis of all policy decisions. Take a few minutes to check out the information available at their web page, as their work is instructive for the issues we are trying to address on Bethlehem’s Southside, as well as in the nation as a whole. Thanks, Breena, for sharing!
April 26, 2010
There’s a very progressive piece of legislation in Congress that could make a huge difference to the country and to Bethlehem and the city’s southside.
City Parks Director Ralph Carp, down in Washington, D.C., early last week at a high-profile national conference on building green infrastructure, spoke with Representative Allyson Schwartz – D (PA), who is co-sponsoring a new bill that would identify 80 small- to medium-sized cities and distribute $120 million for promoting community greening initiatives. Bethlehem – with more and more being done already by the City and various community groups in the area of green and sustainable development – could benefit directly from the legislation if it’s passed into law.
When Ralph asked Allyson Schwartz what he could do to help, she said, “WRITE IN SUPPORT.” So please take a look at the bill and, if you find it promising, WRITE IN SUPPORT.
Here’s a brief summary: 4/30/2009 – Introduced.
Green Communities Act – Directs the Secretary of Commerce, through the Economic Development Administration, to make grants to municipalities to promote community greening initiatives (defined as programs increasing economic development through environmental improvements). Directs the Secretary to select 80 municipalities to receive grants. Requires an eligible program partner to develop and plan such an initiative, which may include revitalizing municipal parks and public spaces, tree plantings, green roof construction, and vacant lot management. Directs the Secretary to make grants to, or enter into contracts with, five nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance and training to eligible program partners in developing, planning, implementing, and assessing initiatives.
More information, including the whole bill, is here.
Representative Allyson Schwartz – D (PA)
7219 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19135
Or simply click here to write her using the convenient form at her web page.
If anyone has further ideas as to what can be done to advance this bill through Congress (teachers out there – how about getting your students to write?) please let me know.
There will be activities at several sites involved in the Southside Community Gardens project this Saturday, April 24th, so please stop by to help, or to learn more about our group and its goals.
We have a work day scheduled at Ullman Park, from approximately 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., with the duration of the work dependent upon how much the park is ready for us to do, so to speak (in other words, we may not need all 6 hours to complete the work). Basically, the nature and amount of work we will be doing on Saturday depends on how much progress is made at the site by Saturday. We will definitely be assembling the raised beds, which are being built off site by our friends with SUN*LV (Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley) right now, to be delivered Saturday morning. The work involved will include measuring to line up the beds for symmetry and level, assembling the “kits” with screwdrivers (holes will all be pre-drilled), and pounding in some rebar to anchor the beds. If the people from the Bethlehem Parks Dept. have stopped by the park by then and marked where the beds can go, then we will also be placing them. And, as a possible third step, if the dirt/compost has been delivered by the parks dept. by then, we will also be able to fill the beds with newspapers first, and then dirt/compost. Some tools will be provided, and I’m going to bring what I have at home, but please bring anything you have – screwdrivers (electric screwdrivers would be great), shovels, buckets for transporting dirt, and any other tools you have that would be helpful.
The annual Spring on 4th celebration, including the Chili Cook-Off, will also be taking place on Saturday afternoon on Southside Bethlehem. Some of the people signed up to garden at the Maze Garden plan to have an organized presence at the site in order to answer questions about the planned garden and spread the word about the SCG project as people from throughout the Lehigh Valley are out and about in Southside Bethlehem during the afternoon’s festivities. To learn more, contact Lehigh student Chris Addy – <email@example.com>, 404-809-2454.
Saturday will also be a great chance for everybody who has signed up for a plot at either garden site to meet and to begin talking about how to organize the group and how to work together, so please plan to stop by and help, if only for an hour or two.
Please contact me if you have any questions or need any more information.
Blaine Waide, Blog Editor
April 21, 2010
Please join us this evening, April 21st, at 6:30 p.m. as we screen the final film in our semester-long series of food-themed documentaries. We’ll be watching the Academy Award-nominated Food, Inc., which “lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry” and “reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.” A discussion led by Professor John Pettegrew will be held directly following the screening. Check out the trailer in a previous post below.
This event will take place in Whitaker Laboratory, room 303, on the Lehigh University Campus, and is free and open to the public. Head here for directions to the site of tonight’s screening.
We hope to see you there!
April 19, 2010
Please join us at 5:30 p.m. (or later) tonight at the base of Roberto Clemente Park for a Southside Community Gardens potluck dinner. See previous posts below for more details.
Directions to Roberto Clemente Park: go over the Lynn Ave. Bridge (the rickety looking steel bridge just east of the Casino off Rt. 412). Go to the top of the hill and look for Lynfield on the left. Turn there and you will see the community center ahead on the right. The garden space is there.
So far we know we have a main dish of rice with vegetables, a green salad, new potato curry, carrot cake, and one person is bringing a beverage. Please add to this mix if you can; and, in any event, come and visit over food during what looks to be a nice, clear evening.
Please call John Pettegrew at 610 390-8970 with any questions.
We hope to see you tonight!
Important Update about the Southside Community Gardens Project, and Information about the Final Screening in the Food Film Series
April 15, 2010
Please join us for a spring potluck dinner this Monday evening at the bottom of Roberto Clemente Park (directions are below, in the April 12th post). Starting time is 5:30, but feel free to stop by later if you like.
The Southside Community Gardens (SCG) project is coming together this spring. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park garden is full, with community gardeners working 12 plots. And the Maze Garden on 3rd Street has a good core of people, with plenty of room for more gardeners; there’s a work date there this Saturday morning starting at 10:00 a.m.; the contact person is Lehigh student Chris Addy, email <firstname.lastname@example.org>, cell phone 484-809-2454. The garden at Ullman Park is close to being set: SUN*LV is building eight raised beds, with a work date set there for next Saturday morning, April 24th; there may still be space available at Ullman – if you are interested, please contact me, John Pettegrew, immediately, at 610-390-8970. Donegan Elementary School is working with SCG on a raised-bed school garden; contact person for the Donegan garden is Lehigh graduate student Chiharu Tokura, <email@example.com>. And Broughal Middle School students are planting seeds in their greenhouse; container gardens are being discussed as a first step there.
Plans are also well underway for a Lehigh Community Garden on the university’s Goodman Campus, located south of South Mountain.
With the help of Bethlehem’s Citizens’ Academy and others, SCG is now focusing on organizing a community garden at the bottom of Roberto Clemente Park, next to the Lynfield housing development, on the east side of South Mountain. That’s the occasion for the potluck dinner this Monday night. We also want to have a time to get together, compare notes, and enjoy home cooked food and hopefully the good spring weather. Please join us and bring a dish or non-alcoholic drink to share. Here’s a flier with more details.
Also, please join us Wednesday evening, April 21st, for a free showing of the film Food, Inc., nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Film. It’s showing at 6:30 p.m., at Whitaker 303, on Lehigh’s lower campus. This is the final screening in the Food Film Series. Check out the trailer below!
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Read about an Organic Garden on the National Mall; Volunteers Needed for Ullman Park Work Day on April 24th; and Join Us for the Annual Southside Clean-Up
April 14, 2010
Here is an article from the Washington Post about the ‘People’s Garden,’ an organic garden the Agriculture Department has planted (with compost provided by the Lehigh Valley’s very own Rodale Institute!) outside the agency’s headquarters on the National Mall. The garden, which was first planted in 2009, is one of over 250 the USDA has planted on its facilities across the world. Not only is the garden, supported by a federal government agency, further proof of the energy and resources city, state, and federal agencies are willing to marshall in support of community gardens, fresh, healthy produce, sustainable agriculture, and other related areas of this accelerating movement, but the article presents the different ways a community garden can become a location for educational presentations and cooking demonstrations, as well as a first step that generates subsequent environmentally conscious behavior, such as building plant beds that capture storm-water runoff. These are ideas we should keep in mind as our project grows; in fact, given the central location of the Maze Garden on Southside Bethlehem, it seems ideally located to host any number of events, presentations, and demonstrations.
As for our project’s more immediate plans, we will need volunteers on April 24th, when we install the beds at Ullman Park. Volunteers are needed to help put the beds into appropriate places and to shovel dirt (soil and compost provided by Bethlehem) into the beds. I’ll have more definite details in the coming days, but it is likely the work will last from approximately 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Please make time to come by and help, even if it is for only an hour to shovel. That Saturday is also the annual Spring on Fourth/Chili Cook-Off; it should be a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the festivities on Southside Bethlehem, beginning with volunteering your time to a worthy cause, one meant to bring healthy and locally grown food to the Southside community.
And there is one other upcoming event of importance to the well being and appearance of the Southside: this Saturday, April 17th, the annual Lehigh University/South Side Task Force Clean-Up will take place from 8 – 11:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to show up for a continental breakfast, including coffee, donuts, and refreshments, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the Lehigh University parking lots at Brodhead and Packer Avenue, where they will able to sign up. With students and town residents working together, teams will then spread out to designated neighborhoods. Tools, bags, and some gloves will be provided, and the clean-up will take place rain or shine.
We hope to see you at one of these events soon!
Chatham University’s new Master of Arts in Food Studies, and Information about the Plattsburgh (N.Y.) Community Garden Group
April 13, 2010
Here are a few links that members of the Southside Community Gardens project have recently shared with me, and which are likely to be of interest to friends, members, and supporters of the SCG project, along with people interested in urban agriculture, sustainability, food studies, community gardening, and much more.
First, here is an article about Alice Julier, the director of the new Master of Arts in Food Studies program at Pittsburgh’s Chatham University. The new program is unique in the field of food studies because it has Eden Hall Farm, located on the college’s Richland campus, as a resource – a working environment where students will be able to gain hands-on experiences with sustainable agriculture in the field. Much like our efforts on Bethlehem’s Southside, Julier approaches the work of her program with her eyes set on revitalizing Pittsburgh, as the city tries to shake off the effects of its industrial past.
And Lou Cinquino of SUN*LV shared this link with us, from the American Community Garden Association listserv, which includes a collection of documents from the Plattsburgh (N.Y.) Community Garden Group that together demonstrate the various stages of a city-based community gardens program, like we hope the SCG can possibly become. While these documents are probably not all be relevant to our project at this time, they may prove beneficial to group members, or regular readers of this blog, who are involved in other projects. Some of these documents may also be more applicable to the SCG project in later stages of our development.
Please mark down next Monday’s potluck dinner from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Roberto Clemente Park, located just off 412 between Southside Bethlehem and Hellertown, on your calendars (there is a link to a map below, in a previous posting). Plans are coming together, and this outdoor event should be a great opportunity for members of the Southside Community Gardens project to get together on an early spring evening to eat good food (and possibly listen to music) while making new friends and discussing the benefits of a community garden at Roberto Clemente Park with people from nearby neighborhoods. Everyone is welcome, and if you can bring a dish or non-alcoholic beverage to share, all the better.
As always, we hope to see or hear from you soon. Please feel free to contact us at <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you have any questions or need any additional information.
There will be a meeting this Wednesday, April 14th, at 6:00 p.m. at the Maze Garden for those people who have signed up for a plot at that that site (located at the intersection of New Street and 3rd Street, across from the New Street Bridge and Lehigh Pizza). If you have not signed up for a plot but are interested in doing so, please come to the meeting, as there are still a few remaining plots. We hope to use this meeting to allow the people who have signed up for the Maze Garden to begin to organize themselves internally by establishing an organizational structure, as well as specific plans to get the garden up and running in the next few weeks.
Next Monday, April 19th, the Southside Community Gardens project will be hosting a potluck dinner at Roberto Clemente Park in hopes of building interest in our project among the members of the nearby Lynfield housing development. The inaugural class of the Bethlehem Citizens’ Academy has also expressed interest in helping us work this garden, and they are making plans to join us at the potluck. Everybody is welcome; if you have not signed up for a plot, but are interested, this meeting is going to be a great opportunity for you to get involved with the project at the park where we need the most help in building interest and momentum. Plots are available. Please bring a dish to pass and share.
Here is a map to Roberto Clemente Park. The park is located very near to Saucon Park (Park #28), and it looks like you can get there by taking 4th Street east until it becomes Route 412; then you will take a right on Lynn Avenue, followed by your fist left on E. 6th St. (after driving across the train tracks). If you follow this road as it winds around, E. 6th becomes Lynfield Drive, which should lead to Roberto Clemente Park, located in the Lynfield housing development.
Finally, while I hope to have more details in the coming days, it looks like we will not begin building the raised garden beds, at least at Ullman Park, until Saturday, April 24th. Some of our friends at SUN*LV are having the beds built offsite this weekend, and we will be installing them on April 24th. In the meantime, we hope to organize a meeting for those people signed up for Ullman Park as soon as possible. If you have signed up for a plot in Ullman, or are interested in doing so (plots are still available), and would like to help us organize this meeting so that the group of Ullman Park gardeners can begin to establish some internal organization and plans, please contact us to let us know.
There’s lots happening in the coming weeks, so please check back here regularly for updates and futher details.
We hope to see you soon. And don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions, or need any more information.
Blaine Waide, Blog Editor
Southside Community Gardens Presentation and Meeting tomorrow, April 6th, and Food Film Series Screening April 7th
April 5, 2010
Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday April 6th, at 5:30 p.m. in the Banana Factory’s Crayola Gallery for discussion and updates about the Southside Community Gardens project. Also, Meagan Grega, M.D., of the Kellyn Foundation, will give a short presentation about the role of nutrition in fighting the obesity epidemic. Fresh fruit, cheese, and spring water will be served.
The Banana Factory is located at 25 W. Third St. in Bethlehem, Pa., and is easily accessible from I-78 and Routes 22, 378 and 412. For questions about tomorrow night and about the Southside Community Gardens project, call John Pettegrew at (610)390-8970.
Then, on Wednesday, the fourth film in the Food Film Series will be screened. This week we’re honored to be joined by filmmaker Natasha Dow Schüll as she presents her film Buffet: All You Can Eat Las Vegas, and leads an audience discussion afterwards. This film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in Whitakeer Laboratory, room 303, on the Lehigh campus. For a full listing of the film series, check out our flier. Here are directions to Whitaker Laboratory.
We hope to see you soon!