One of the major projects in recent years has been to expand the Neighborhood Gardens to an additional location and get more people involved. Started at the Springfield Art Association as an Eagle Scout project, the challenge was then finding a way to keep the garden maintained and productive. Kumler United Methodist Church (located at 600 N. 5th St.) offered to partner with EPNIA to spearhead this effort. This has enabled us to recruit more participants and expand the program into composting, worm farming, and practices in water retention. A part-time supervisor, hired from within the community, assisted in the initial preparation and planting of the individual gardens. Tools, seeds, plants, compost and water are provided, and Noonan’s True Value generously donated many of the supplies to get the garden plots started. The supervisor also sees that each family maintains the weeding and watering of their plot. Members of the Enos Park Garden & Composting Committee provide instruction and training on types of plants and growing practices that should be most successful for our area and climate. Each family must commit to maintaining their plot and periodically volunteer to help with a plot designated for the Kumler food pantry.
For the 2014 season, the Neighborhood Gardens expanded to an additional location at 1014-1022 N. 5th, a triple lot owned by Enos Park Development. Community Missions Network made a donation to cover the cost of installing a water pump at the site and a generous neighbor paid for a fence to be installed. Individuals and families signed up for 30 plots at the new location, and the 27 plots at the Art Association were also filled.
Each spring and summer, neighbors gather on a weekly basis to work their plots and socialize with one another, Monday nights at the SAA location and Wednesday nights at the new site.
If you would like to find out more about a specific part of the program or want to apply for a plot for the upcoming season, please contact Dan Linn at 847-341-0591.
Kumler helps grow vegetables, children and neighbors
Kumler Outreach Ministries and Kumler United Methodist Church are stepping beyond the walls of their buildings to help grow the Enos Park Neighborhood, whether it’s children at McClernand Elementary School, vegetables in the community garden or relationships between our neighbors.
The focus of The Neighborhood Gardens, a partnership of the Springfield Art Association, Kumler and the Enos Park Neighborhood Association, is to build community while teaching people how to grow high-quality, nutritious food. As neighbors gather in the garden to plant their personal plots and the communal plot, people are getting to know one another. It’s becoming an “our” space for the neighborhood, a place where people can come together, work together and learn from one another.
The garden has also been a hands-on learning environment for students at McClernand Elementary School. Centered around a curriculum developed by Kumler, the garden has been a first for many children in the participating classes. Learning everything from what a seed is to what it takes to nurture it to the economic value of growing your own food, the children have learned food comes from the ground, not just the grocery store. They planted seeds in the classroom, then took the seedlings and planted them in the McClernand plot in The Neighborhood Gardens. The children have an open invitation to stop by the garden throughout the summer to see how their plants are doing and work if they want.