With funding support from the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH), City of Columbus and Columbus Foundation, and additional support from the Affordable Housing Trust (AHT), the Neighborhood Design Center managed the 2016 Parcels to Places program which selected the Community Education Garden on Hawkes Avenue as a grant recipient.
The Learning Garden will be used to teach families and children about farming and, unlike Franklinton Gardens’ other sites, will not focus heavily on production. The space will allow the nonprofit to host diverse educational programming focusing on gardening and food production for both home and market, a place for community events, general beautification, and a venue for Franklinton Gardens to host annual garden-related festivals.
The Learning Garden is just one component of the comprehensive strategy for the future of Franklinton Gardens. The organization was awarded a USDA grant to expand healthy food access and continues to build on that mission with a variety of efforts. “Unearthing Franklinton’s Potential: Cultivating a Vibrant Foodscape” is an endeavor that focuses on building on the existing assets and resources in a community with low food access. The neighborhood has rich soil and vacant land that can be efficiently managed to produce high quality, organically grown food to distribute through markets, a 20-week CSA program, and multiple federal programs that increase the purchasing power of low-income residents at markets to make access to affordable, fresh produce grown in the neighborhood possible. Franklinton Gardens’ programming seeks to improve food access, preserve land for urban food production, improve consumption of healthy and local foods, increase resident self-efficacy, improve social capital and human capital networks in the community, and improve affordability of healthy foods for low-income residents.