With the growing season drawing to a close, the Southside Community Gardens (SCG) project has scheduled end-of-the-season work parties at two of our community gardens in Southside Bethlehem. On Saturday, October 2, from 9-11 a.m., there will be a work party at Ullman Park, which is located at the intersection of Sassafras Street and 378 as 378 begins the climb up South Mountain toward Center Valley. Then, on Sunday, October 3, from 2-4 p.m., there will be a work party at the Maze Garden, which is located at the intersection of 3rd and New Streets on Bethlehem’s Southside. These work parties will be an opportunity to straighten the gardens and to put them to rest for the season. Tidying the gardens now will also be a great way to begin preparing the beds for next year, while enabling group members, gardeners, and interested volunteers to come together and begin planning for the spring of 2011.

It is no surprise that our first year included a mixture of successes and failures. Coming together to mark the close of the season will serve as a way to share our experiences, learn from what we did wrong as well as what we did right, and discuss what we can do better in the future. With the beds in place and certain problems addressed, we want to be sure and build on SCG’s first year, ensuring that these gardens are a part of the fabric of the Southside community for years to come. Working together to straighten the gardens should be a very productive and energizing way to close the season.

Volunteers are welcome and eagerly invited, as we hope to begin the process of building interest and momentum for 2011. Feel free to stop by at any point during either work day to join us in working to establish a network of community gardens in Southside Bethlehem. These work parties will be a great opportunity to learn more about our project and become involved as we start thinking about next year. If you have tools or extra work gloves, please bring them, as we will surely find a good use for them.

To learn more, ask questions, or get directions, contact us at <southsidecommunitygardens@gmail.com>.

Since these work days fall on the same weekend as October’s First Friday, we will not be able to put the same time and energy into organizing our monthly potluck at the Maze Garden. DJ Arm 18, however, has kindly offered to take charge of this month’s activities; he will again be spinning records in the garden, beginning at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday, October 1. If you are out and enjoying the First Friday festivities on the Southside on what will hopefully be a beautiful autumn evening, we hope you have time to stop by the Maze Garden. And don’t hesitate if you would like to bring a dish or beverage to share; even though the SCG project won’t be able to organize a formal potluck, nothing would speak more clearly to our growing presence on the Southside this year than if the community came together to share food, listen to music, and visit in a more informal, spontaneous, and, dare I say, organic way.

We hope to see you soon!


Hi All,

With spring in full swing, it’s certainly time for an update on the Southside Community Gardens (SCG) project, an outgrowth of Lehigh’s South Side Initiative (SSI).

Remember that you can keep up with and contribute to community gardens developments here. We welcome your comments, thoughts, suggestions, ideas, and more.

I’d also like to call a general SCG meeting to take stock of where we are: what garden sites are still to be developed, what are the needs for up-and-running gardens, and what should we be thinking about for spring-summer 2011 and beyond. That meeting will be next Wednesday, May 12th, at 7:00 p.m., on the first floor of Maginnes Hall, Lehigh University. And from now on, we’ll have regular SCG meetings on the second Wednesday of each month.

Two Saturdays ago, a number of people came together and built a garden at Ullman Park! There are presently eight 4′ x 10′ raised beds at Ullman, filled with soil mix, and a good group of neighborhood residents and Lehigh students who are starting to plant. Ida Womer is the Ullman Garden leader; a security fence and water source are in the works.  A huge thank you to SUN*LV,  led by Lou Cinquino, for the bed materials and planning.  SUN*LV’s Steve Weiss was great in leading the construction. Special thanks to Scott Meyer and Blaine Waide for working through the day. And Ralph Carp and the City’s Parks Dept. have been crucial of course in providing the garden site along with soil and other materials.

Lehigh has given its approval for a community garden on its Goodman campus, located on the south side of South Mountain. Lehigh students, faculty, and staff are currently signing up for plots. Planting will begin in late May. In addition to personal use, produce from the Lehigh Community Garden will go to Southside food banks, will be sold at farmers markets, and may be distributed to the university’s food services.

After a good potluck dinner at Roberto Clemente Park, SCG continues to sign up Lynfield residents for a community garden at the bottom of the park. If you’re interested at this effort, you can sign up on the SCG website, or contact me, John Pettegrew, at 610-390-8970.

Finally, this Friday evening, the First Friday of May, SCG people will be gathering at the Maze Garden on 3rd Street between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. A potluck dinner and music are being planned. For more information about the Maze Garden (if you are interested in working in that garden this year), contact Chris Addy, <cwa210@lehigh.edu>.

Happy Spring,

The Maze Garden on Bethlehem's Southside

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 – <cwa210@lehigh.edu>, 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

Hi All,

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 <cwa210@lehigh.edu>, 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, <cht2@lehigh.edu>. 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.

John Pettegrew

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!