Fourth Street Farm makes a Midtown garden grow

The lot at Fourth and Alexandrine in Midtown is mostly empty. But Patience Young has plenty of dreams to fill it.

The Fourth Street Farm will offer community space for Midtown residents -- or anyone with a green thumb -- to garden for free. She and a dusty crew of organizers are working to amend lead levels in the soil, build a tool shed and a rainwater catchment system, and even plant a pumpkin patch for fall.

"There is a community garden in my neighborhood, but it costs $50 for a plot, and I didn't have the money to do that," she says. After talking to neighbors, they decided to expand the garden into a community project.

"The area where we live is more lower-income than the rest of the MIdtown area, and there are a lot of people who don't have yard space and can't access the only gardening resource around them, but are still interested in learning," Young says. "So my idea is to find a way to provide those resources to the community for free, so if they want to farm, they can. Because eating is a right, not a privilege."

While plots will be available for free, Young will plant tomatoes, potatoes and an herb spiral for community use. She hopes it will provide an impetus for the neighborhood not just to garden together, but meet together, eat together and enjoy the outdoors. They're even installing an art sculpture, which they hope will be the beginning of an art park. And that's just the seeds of her master plan.

"We're only farming one lot, but we're surrounded by five or six empty lots," she says. "There's no reason we couldn't expand and make this community self-sustainable."

Fourth Street Farm is in need of donations, both monetary and in the form of tools and sweat labor -- and they're looking for more growers to come together this spring. Find out more here or on their Facebook page.

Source: Patience Young, organizer, Fourth Street Farm
Writer: Ashley C. Woods
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