Austin: Harambee: Good Workday, May 18 and May 23rd work days

Lawn is mowed, beds are marked out, Everyone is out and about looking at all the progress we have made on the lot. Thanks to all who pitched in today to make is successful. We still have a busy few weeks ahead of us but we are moving forward!


Our Community Garden Open House

We had a great turnout on Sunday for our “open house” on Sunday.   We managed to mow most of the lot and have completed plotting out all of the beds.   We also had a sign up table and 5 different people showed up as a result of the Radio program and the Austin Talks article.     Thank you to especially to our high school students,  DeAndre, Larry, Lavontae and Barry and  for doing a MASSIVE amount of mowing on Sunday.
Here are some great pictures that were taken by Kathy Mannweiller

More Media Coverage
Cassandra West former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, who covers Urban Agriculture in the Chicago region, came by and interviewed number of our team members including all of our high school students.   She said that she will be doing a story about us on her blog “Seeding Chicago” in a few days.

Meeting with Deborah Graham
We had a great meeting with our Alderwoman Deborah Graham.  She is very excited for our project and fully in support of us.  She is planning on renting a plot for her family.   She is also assisting in getting access to the lot north of the high school on Ohio so that the students can create a garden at that location as well.

Expanded Schedule For This Weekend
We are planning on doing some additional preparation work on Saturday.  This will primarily be continuing to pre-build the beds.  On Sunday while we are still inviting most people to be there at 2pm to help put the mulch in the beds, we are also looking for people who can be on site early that day.  We are going to set up a larger canopy for shade.  We are expecting fairly warm temperatures this weekend.
Adults needed for canvassing.

The Students at the high school are prepared to do some additional canvassing for our workday on the 23rd as well as the community meeting on the 27th.  (This is the meeting at the high school where everyone in the community has a chance to come out and ask about the Garden.)  They are in need of chaperons when they canvas between the hours of 3 and 5.   If you are available to do this either tomorrow Wednesday or Thursday, please contact Cary Bittenger at 651-278-7834.

Lead Test results.
All of our lead results came in between 190 and 340 parts per million. This is lower than we expected and we are happy about it.  While we are not going to be gardening in the existing soil are using raised beds, it is even more re assuring to know that the levels are as low as they are.  To put that in context for those unfamiliar with lead levels, our samples range from safe (190) to slightly elevated (340).  The bottom line is that our raised bed method is perfectly safe for the conditions.

Oak Park Conservatory Plant Donations
We have inventoried the plants that have been donated by the Oak Park Conservatory and we will be making 6 free plants available on a first come first serve basis on Wednesday, May 26th  at 838 N. Madison in Oak Park.    If you are not able to make it over to Park, you can designate someone to claim the plants for you.   The plants available range from heirloom tomatoes to peppers to pumpkins and squash.  I will send more complete details when they are available.
Cardboard and Newspaper
We have a big call out for newspaper, cardboard and old t shirts.  Dean has also gotten access to burlap sacks from Intelligentsia.   Please continue to collect them they will also be useful for keeping moisture in the soil of your bed as we go through the summer.   (We are also looking for a few garden hoses to be donated!)

Please continue to share with people about what we are up to.  We are accomplishing something remarkable.



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