What’s new in the Shanti Garden for 2018? A lot!!!
We are so excited and optimistic about making it all happen.
Let’s take out the looking-glass and look ahead:
FLURRY OF COMMUNITY GRANTS SUBMITTED
We applied for many grants including NPP, Akron Community Foundation, GAR Foundation and USDA Urban Farming and Farm-to-School. We expect to hear within the next several weeks and are encouraged we’ll get more than a few nibbles from all our hard work with many seasoned partners putting forth our best efforts in writing up these proposals. We are particularly encouraged by a proposal we submitted this week to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service based in Cleveland for a high-tunnel (hoop house) install for seasonal extension.
FARMERS MARKET RENEWED IN NORTH HILL
We are meeting regularly with North Akron Community Development Corporation, landowners Exchange House and Hibernian’s Club with the assistance of Summit Food Coalition and Countryside Conservancy to renew the North Hill farmer’s market. Exchange House will also be designing and installing the new outdoor space including the development of unique sheltered vendor stalls. Hibernian’s Club will be offering a beer garden. Summit Food Coalition and Countryside Conservancy will be working with us on providing vendor training.
The market will be operating on Saturdays, May-September, with local artisans, freshly grown food and prepared food vendors. Community dining space including food trucks and musical entertainment will be a regular feature to provide a full COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE!
Shanti is heading up the food vendors who will not only get a free garden plot or two, but also get trained in customer service and operations for their farm stands… and even receive ongoing entrepreneurial training for operating their own food business some day!
We are also involving North High School youth in assisting us in organizing the market and operating a few food stands of their own. Shanti will be setting up a weekly CSA program to farmers market customers to generate additional revenue.
ADDITIONAL FARMLAND TO MEET DEMAND
We are checking out leads on grazing land leases within 30 minutes drive of Akron to provide a base camp for our livestock project, including sheep, goats and chickens. We hope to find a leasing partner that can provide fencing and shelter in addition to pasture. This would be a key revenue source for us!
We are working with LandBank, private landowners and church groups in North Hill to provide additional garden space to meet the demand for participating families.
Reap what you will sow! Our challenges are many, but with all the support from our community partners, grant proposals, carefully-laid plans and client needs–we know we’ll be rewarded with a rich and fertile season ahead!!
If you’d like to make a donation, go to www.gofundme.com/shanti-community-garden