Heave, Ho! Ho! Ho! gets tree in the Purdue Memorial Union
Plus, Food Finders and a Giving Tuesday challenge. Lafayette’s GrowLocal Urban Gardens Network looks ahead to spring. And more.
Thanks to Food Finders Food Bank for sponsoring the edition on today’s Giving Tuesday. While many of us decide whether to spend money on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, there are many in our community deciding whether to spend it on food or utilities, rent, car repairs and more. One in eight adults and one in seven children in Food Finders’ service area face food insecurity. Gifts can have twice the impact on Giving Tuesday because of matching gifts from Cargill and Indiana Packers. To donate and to see what you can do to help, click on the link below.
HEAVE, HO! HO! HO! AT THE PURDUE MEMORIAL UNION
How Purdue crews get a 25-foot evergreen into the Great Hall of the Purdue Memorial Union seems like an amazing feat. But, on Monday, they did it again, getting a Christmas tree cut in Lafayette through the Union doors for a series of holiday events in the coming weeks.
Here’s how it played out.
The tree will remain up until Dec. 21, after the fall semester ends. Purdue President Mitch Daniels is expected to light the tree at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30., in an event that will include musical performances and light refreshments.
FALL CROWDFUNDING AIMS TO SEED GROWLOCAL URBAN GARDENS THIS SPRING
With gardens put to bed for the season, the Lafayette GrowLocal Urban Gardens Network is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to get ready for planting next spring.
The goal: $2,000, by Dec. 15. (That’s up from an initial $600 goal passed shortly after the campaign started Nov. 15.)
Here, Margy Deverall, a project manager with Lafayette’s Economic Development Department, talks about the community gardens network across the city and why the crowdfunding is underway.
Question: What’s the reason behind the crowd-funding effort? How will that money be used?
Margy Deverall: Funds raised will provide seeds, plants, fertilizer, supplies, raised beds, garden soil and mulch to all our gardens; reprint maps of the 10 sharing garden locations, and provide all the gardens in the network with permanent food ID signage in both Spanish and English. Additional funding would allow us to partner with local elementary schools by developing youth oriented garden programming, purchase shared tools, design and build accessible raised beds, and create a neighborhood friendly outdoor gathering space for small events at some of our larger gardens.
Question: How many community gardens does Lafayette have now?
Margy Deverall: We have 20-plus in the network. Of those, 10 are open Sharing Gardens anyone can pick from. Our tag line is: “Pick what you need, pull a weed.”
Unlike Community Gardens where one person or family rents a small garden space for their own use, sharing gardens are planted as one big garden that anyone who is hungry can pick from. These are planted, watered and weeded by volunteers to benefit those who are food insecure. Most of the Sharing Gardens are in areas we have identified as “food deserts.” Someone living in that area with little or no transportation would need to go more than a mile to get to a grocery store with fresh produce. The only nearby stores are gas station-type quickie marts with unhealthy, highly processed food, and it’s expensive. All extra produce from our gardens is picked by volunteers and donated to Food Finders and food pantries.
Question: How did you find those spaces? Are they donated by landowners, or are they city-owned? Or a mix?
Margy Deverall: A mix. When the organization began, we learned about several gardens at churches and community centers, but no one know about each other. Currently, two gardens are on unbuildable lots owned by Habitat for Humanity, two are on city property. Many are educational gardens at community centers (Hanna, Bauer Head Start), at churches (Bethany Presbyterian, Trinity United Methodist, First Baptist, Congress Street United Methodist, Brown Street United Methodist), Salvation Army, LTHC/Lincoln Center and Imagination Station.
Question: Tell a bit about how GrowLocal Lafayette got started and how it’s grown.
Margy Deverall: GrowLocal was established in late 2015 with a simple mission in mind: “To support and encourage urban gardening through action, education and organization; enhancing community and quality of life … to building, nourishing and nurturing community through urban gardens.” Seeds of this organization were planted during a conversation between two friends asking for gardening advice. It also began 10 years earlier when Tippecanoe Urban Farmers was started. Founded by Ian Thompson, a plant scientist at Purdue, his goal was to teach people how to use their backyards to grow their own food. He is now a valued member of GrowLocal.
Question: Are there any local heroes who have made GrowLocal really work?
Margy Deverall: Our volunteers and membership as a whole are what makes GrowLocal work. But Ken McCammon, Harry Smith, Lindsey Payne and Ian Thompson get the garden gold stars for the work they do and through the contacts and assets they bring to the group.
Question: How can people get involved with GrowLocal – including getting their hands dirty next spring?
Question: Who do you find using the gardens most?
Margy Deverall: A mix, neighbors near the gardens, community members who learn about us through social service agencies and folks we never see because we are only in the gardens five to 10 hours a week.
Question: What other context should I know?
Margy Deverall: We have grown a list of volunteers through Purdue student and local professional groups. This has been a huge help. They may only come to the gardens once or twice a year, but when they do we have anywhere from 20 to 60 people on hand. A class at Purdue made this video for us a couple years ago that is still spot on. No joke, I tear up every time I watch it.
From J&C reporter Ron Wilkins, here’s the case of a Purdue student who Lafayette police say killed himself at a Lafayette shooting range on Friday. Here’s the link.
From WLFI reporter Joe Paul, the coroner identified a man who was found dead with a gunshot wound in an alley in the Wabash Avenue Neighborhood over the weekend. But details about 52-year-old Terry Robinson’s death weren’t clear, as of Monday. Here’s a link to more.
A LATE ADDITION …: On Sunday, I had the backstory for a new Indiana Historic Bureau marker planned for Lafayette poet Evaleen Stein’s “Little House of Dreams,” at the corner of South Seventh and Hitt streets, just up from downtown Lafayette. What I didn’t include in the initial versions of the story was a way to donate to the effort to plant the marker there in 2023. So, here goes: Donations to help erect a marker at Evaleen Stein’s “Little House of Dreams” may be sent to the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, 300 Main St., Suite 100, Lafayette, IN 47901. Or online, go to the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette site and click on “Donate.” Designate donations to the Evaleen Stein Marker Fund.
Thanks to Food Finders Food Bank for sponsoring today’s edition on Giving Tuesday. To see how you can make your donation worth twice as much to Food Finders today, check the link here.
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT, LOCAL REPORTING.