Path Home Shows 2009 Show Archive October 2009 Show 0942 Community Garden

Community Garden

The Women in Agriculture's dream of planting a community garden in the midst of Oklahoma City's urban landscape has now become a reality all thanks to a revolutionary new growing method.
Community Garden

A community garden

For more information visit these links:

Oklahoma Women in Agriculture Association
Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Plasticulture Program

Show Dates

Show 0942: Community Garden

Air date: October 18, 2009



Rob:  Earlier this year, we introduced you to a group of women in Oklahoma City area with a goal to connect low income families with fresh, locally grown produce.  Known as the Women in Agriculture Association, their dream of planting a community garden in the midst of Oklahoma City's urban landscape has now become a reality, all thanks to a revolutionary new growing method.  Joining me now with more on this is our Russ Jowell.

Russ:  Well Rob, when I first visited this site in March it wasn't much more than an abandoned lot littered with all kinds of garbage.  But when I returned for a follow-up visit what I found was a plush garden flowing with all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables.  And a group of women proud of what they've accomplished.


(drums playing)

Russ:  It was a day of celebration, a day to honor the end of a long journey and for Women in Ag President Tammy Steele, it's the realization of a dream.

Tammy:  This is our actual grand opening of bringing forth a fresh new start here in the east side of Oklahoma City, urban Oklahoma City.

Russ:  A fresh start for fresh food in Oklahoma City spurred by some fresh new thinking.

Tammy:  This is just basically women coming together, members of our organization coming together helping and pulling together our little resources.  This is without any grants.  This is without any actual funding from anyone as far as sponsorships or anything.  That's one of our things that we have to show people it doesn't take one person to do something but it takes a group of people to make a difference.

Russ:  A diverse collection of people with a diverse set of ideas. The plot of land at I-35 and Northeast 23rd Street was donated to the group by a local dentist.

(plastic close up)

Russ:  And thanks to some pliable ingenuity from the Department of Agriculture's, Micah Anderson, that land will reap harvests in every season of Oklahoma weather.

Micah:  Some of the stuff you have to plant in the middle of the heat so you want to put white plastic down so you can plant in July and August.  And because you're using white plastic it deflects some of the heat so it makes the ground a little cooler and that plant doesn't suffer through that heat.

Russ:  And he should know, because Micah uses the plasticulture method in his own garden near Piedmont.

Micah:  You can get to the market earlier.  You can plant watermelons earlier in the ground, it warms the ground up several degrees.  You can get watermelons and cantaloupes probably a week to two weeks before anybody else because it warms the ground up.  Then that way, the watermelon that you get now, they're pretty much winding up.  Now you've got new watermelons, you've got new cantaloupes coming on and you keep your market continuing on.

Russ:  Which is exactly what Tammy and her friends hope to do.

Tammy:  There's actually change coming about and you see it developing slowly but surely.  I'm able to actually look at our youth and say, "Look what we can do;" and, therefore it's reaching forward and back.

Russ:  And reaching toward the goal of a healthier Oklahoma.

Russ:  The Women in Ag haven't stopped with just this one garden.  The group has established six additional gardens in the area.  And that's in addition to the two members who are working on their own agricultural projects.

Rob:  Well certainly commendable and I applaud their efforts.  Now what about the wider neighborhood, how does this benefit them?


Russ:  Well of course they're going to get fresh fruits and vegetables from this garden, but Tammy hopes it will become a community gathering point where people from all across the community can come.  And she also hopes that it will be a place where people can learn about how to start their own garden.

Rob:  Alright, nice story, appreciate it Russ.