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 southsidecommunitygardens@gmail.com if you have any questions, or need any more information.

Sincerely,

Blaine Waide, Blog Editor

Hello

July 14, 2009

South Side Community Gardens,  A Project Supported by Lehigh University’s  South Side Initiative.

Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative is leading an effort to build and work a series of community gardens along the Greenway and perhaps other locations on the southside of Bethlehem.  Mayor John Callahan and the City of Bethlehem are key partners in this venture, as they want to see city residents and groups take responsibility for sections of  the Greenway and we want parcels of land to be dedicated to gardening.  Federal stimulus grant proposals may be submitted with the City for community gardens development along with other Greenway projects.  Funding from the state of Pennsylvania, including from its Department of Community and Economic Development, will also be pursued.

The time is right.  Along with the national and international movements towards urban agriculture, there are any number of organizations in the Lehigh Valley focused on green technology, sustainability, and generally making the area and its city centers more “walkable” and more environmentally and economically sound.  Lehigh University is among these organizations:  its multi-million dollar Environmental Initiative, an academic enterprise, is calibrated partially towards local research and experiential and service learning; President Alice Gast is interested in urban gardens and has made community outreach a priority in the university’s new Strategic Plan; and the South Side Initiative is dedicated to mobilizing students, staff, and faculty to work with the community in heightening historical understanding, cultural creativity, and social justice during this time of epochal transformation.

We invite you to join us, here with your voice on our blog, along 4th Street with your shovel and with your enthusiasm to bring this project to fruition at our  first Public Meeting on Tuesday, August 11th at 7:00 pm–location TBA.

Sincerely,

John Pettegrew
Associate Professor of History &  Director of the South Side Initiative, Lehigh University