Garden Links Empower Neighborhoods
From the grape to the vineyard—individual gardeners to the entire Historic Westside and beyond—GLEN addresses issues of food security and health at multiple levels.
GLEN provides assistance to residents with installing fresh vegetable gardens in backyards or housing complexes. “Garden Angels” visit gardeners weekly and train residents about natural growing intensive agriculture and invite them to nutrition and agricultural classes. The goal is to emPLOWer residents. Assistance (seeds, rain barrels, soil and wood for raised beds) is free, and participants are expected to give back by contributing to community food security and sovereignty.
Cluster of Homes
A cluster of participant gardeners reside within walking distance of each other. These neighbors can exchange crops, seeds and tools. They share access to a central hub garden. The hub is an opportunity to explore and learn about the possibilities that growing at a larger scale site offers. It is the space where where events and classes occur, and where resident collaboration builds community social capital. HWG's empowering approach is strengthened at the cluster level.
HWG envisions several clusters in a neighborhood spanning 50 to 100 small scale gardens. HWG’s Community Farming Organizer (CFO) identifies Garden Angels who are cluster leaders to become members of the GLEN Leadership Forum. They learn GLEN methodology, recruit and assist new gardeners, and form a neighborhood team which coordinate clusters and organize activities. The GLEN Leadership Forum contributes to neighborhood Food Oriented Development initiatives such as operating weekly farmer stands, cleaning of vacant lots and installation of temporary gardens, and developing community owned food processing and retail opportunities as part of a community plan for food security and resiliency. GLEN Leadership Forum members receive a stipend to support their studying and their commitment.
HWG believes that food production for the community, by the community, removes barriers to access healthy food and promotes self-determination through a network of hundreds of small scale gardens. GLEN complements the development of larger scale urban farms as an additional strategy for building resilience of the Westside. Our goal is 500 gardens during the next five years. The success of revision.coop in Denver, Colorado proves that the model works at this scale. It solves land access issues, is a low capital investment, and develops a critical mass of residents involved in healthy food production and alleviation of social and health challenges. For an investment of $250K over five years—just $500 per gardener—we will transFARM the Westside.