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Gardens for Growth

The community surrounding Englewood Church on the near Eastside has always amazed me with their generosity and the way they work as neighbors to share life together. On any given day you’ll find the neighborhood kids outside playing tag or ring-around-the-rosie, each week they hold a dinner that’s open to the community, and it’s not uncommon to see them borrowing anything from a cup of sugar to a lawn mower to a car. They’ll soon be sharing something even bigger as construction begins on Englewood’s Community Garden.

After applying for a grant through State Farm’s Neighborhood Assistance Contest to build their Gardens for Growth, Englewood’s proposal was narrowed down to one of the top 200 applications vying for one of 40 $25,000 grants. For weeks, the community spread the word asking family, friends, and strangers to vote and help make their dream a reality. Holding steady in the teens for most of the voting days, they dropped down to the 36th position during the last 24 hours. After one last push, their persistence paid off and they jumped in the rankings securing their grant.

Ask anyone around the Englewood neighborhood about the plans for the garden and you’ll surely feel their excitement and pride as they embark on a project that will not only beautify what used to be a vacant lot, but will also be a tool to teach the community about growing their own food. Some of the items included in the plan are garden boxes, a playground, community picnic shelter, water play area, and a tree house. Gardens for Growth will surely harvest many fruits and vegetables for the Englewood area, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will aid in growing their relationships with each other and the community even further–a way of life they’ve been cultivating all along.

If you’d like to see their initial proposal for the State Farm Neighborhood Assistance Contest, watch their video entry: