Where do we stand?

In 2005 the City of Springfield announced that it was going to auction off 488 Central St. An empty parcel of land that previously housed an abandonned burned down home and had become a community garden for four years. This was the original home of GtC. The land was about 1/4 acre in size but was the small beginnings for a youth program that introduced the concept of growing food right in the neighborhood to a lot of young people. The community rallied and protested but in the end the lot was taken back by the city.

In 2007 after the lot had gone back to becoming an abandonned piece of property and illegal dumping followed, the lot was returned in exchange for taking away another parcel from GtC, this time a much larger plot, 326 Central St.

One acre on size this site was a historic Community Garden in the Maple High Six Corners Neighborhood, one of the only ones in the city of Springfield for a time. It was here on this site where hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables were produced in the community year after year. In 2003 GtC joined the ranks of these urban growers and began growing food on this site.

Just as it was with 488 Central St. 326 Central St. has become an overgrown mess once again. It is a blight and an eyesore in the community. But this time, it is not the fault of an absentee landlord.

Last year the city of Springfield unveiled a program entitled Groundwork Springfield. A program whose mission is to “bring about sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment by developing a community-based partnership with which empowers people, businesses, government, residents, and community-based organizations to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being”.

Other such organization have also sprouted up and City Hall continues to urge residents to become involed and active in their communities. But where’s the support for GtC?
Urban agriculture is about community development, as much as it is about feeding the community. It lowers crimes, beautifies a neighborhood, keeps money inside the community and promotes healthier communities, and for GtC, it gives jobs to young people.

I have no doubt that Groundwork Springfield will do great things in the City of Springfield. I have nothing against their organization. But to the youth and community residents who worked with GtC every year to create and encourage change in their neighborhoods its a frustrating situation.
This entry was posted in City of Springfield Ma, Land, Urban Agriculture. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Where do we stand?

  1. jennifer says:

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.Margarethttp://howtomakecompost.info

  2. Ruby…let's make an issue of this!

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