Wangari Gardens is a new 2.7 acre garden park being created by its surrounding neighborhood in the heart of Washington, DC. As a very diverse, friendly, and community oriented neighborhood, this area of the city suffers from high obesity, diabetes, heart disease rates, and malnutrition, especially among children. There are few grocery options available, and many residents rely on corner stores which sell little amounts of fresh produce or healthy food.
Neighbors have come together to turn a largely unused green space into a garden and park that will help connect the community through growing healthy food, and making a beautiful gathering space for children and their families.
The name Wangari Gardens was given in honor of the late Professor Wangari Maathai, an activist that fought for peace, environmental and social justice, and for women's equality in East Africa. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Maathai founded the Greenbelt Movement, a movement which is responsible for planting 40 million trees in Kenya. We wish to honor her life and continue her message of using unused green space for the non-profit benefit of the surrounding community. Her legacy of bringing community together to protect the environment while bettering their lives is what inspired us to name the park Wangari Gardens.
Wangari Gardens is a unique garden in the sense that it serves more than just its plot holders. The focal point of the garden is a 60 plot community garden, including accessible plots for people with disabilities, rented out to local community members. Almost a dozen are given away for free to low income families. In addition to their plots, each plot holder signs an agreement to spend at least 2 hours a month watering and maintaining numerous public gardens. We have a 45 fruit tree orchard, a huge vegetable garden, a berry garden, an outdoor classroom, and other small gardens that are all open to the public. Anyone is allowed to come pick fresh fruit and vegetables. We didn't want to make our garden exclusive to only people who get plots. We call this model a "garden park". Our mission is for Wangari Gardens to be a garden park, cared for by community members, as a gathering space for education, food production, and recreation. It can truly be an oasis in a busy and very active part of the city.
Many volunteer groups, schools, health clinics, hospitals, kids care programs, summer camps, intervention programs from all over the city have come to help build the garden and create educational and therapeutic programs. We have held free workshops, kids' fun days, a concert, picnics, neighborhood work days, and more. Many of the materials for the garden have been donated so far, enabling us to begin building everything on quite a low budget.
But the time has come to raise the funds that will help us to make the garden more self sustaining, improve the quality of our soil, and expand the garden to serve more community members.
By the end of 2012, we hope to:
-add approximately 40 more garden beds to the community garden, needing wood and soil/compost
-design and build a rain capturing structure for our water cisterns, to continue lessening the need for city water
-create a medicinal forest grove containing trees, shrubs, and plants, all with medicinal properties and labeled informational signs, open to the public.
-complete the remediation of the fruit orchard soil, improving the health of the 90 fruit and nut trees/shrubs/plants already planted, and prepare the poor quality DC soil for the rest of the plants still to come.
-make the garden more accessible to all members of the community by; Building a wheelchair ramp for our steps, a railing for our steps, building table garden beds for gardeners in wheelchairs to easily work in, completing educational signs in both English, Spanish and Braille, beginning the creation and planting of a sensory garden, and purchasing garden tools for those with varying types of abilities.
-build winter protection low tunnels for garden plots out of pvc and row cloth for any gardener wishing to grow food throughout the winter
-build a community drop off compost system to begin producing compost for spring.
- pay our water bills for 2012, as we continue to design and plan our rain garden to lessen the need for city water
-add drip irrigation to the forest garden, vastly decreasing the water burden and improving the watering schedule for the plants
- any additional funds will be used for our education and therapeutic programming, continual expansion of public gardens and family plots, event planning and implementation, and overall maintenance resources. There's really no limit to how much resources we could use. $5750 is our best estimate for the cost of the projects we wish to complete this year but any more money would greatly help us this year and beyond. Thank you!!!
These are the projects that need your funding!!! We would love for you to come out and visit Wangari Gardens, or at least check out what we're up to on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WangariGardens and on our website at wangarigardens.org.
*Also we have a donor already who will match the first $500 raised!!!
Risks and challenges
First of all I have the passion to see this project through. This is my WonderQuest. I have been making this movie with little money as it is. I've spent countless hours creating through editing and traveling throughout the country to location shoots.
As a professional, I maintain a living through my art. Blessed be there is lots of loving support of this project.....
Life Risk: Where there is life there is also death. Keep up the Quest!!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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