Growing a new Off-Broadway Community Garden

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

The Off-Broadway Community Garden location is home to a rich and unique history- the kind of history that makes Salt Lake City cool without flaunting it.  But I will share it…

The location of the garden was once the 337 Project, a watershed event in Utah’s contemporary art scene.  Adam Price, then a lawyer (and then becoming the Executive Director of the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art), turned the 42-room office building at 337 South 400 East over to 150 local artists in 2006. The art mob, ranging from taggers to established gallery artists, swarmed over the building creating an art gallery like none other – the building was breathing with life, creativity, and inspiration as you walked through it.

Before the building was ultimately demolished in 2008 — its destruction was integral to the project’s vision — 10,000 visitors had toured it. Salt Lake City artists and art lovers still evoke 337 when discussing the growth of Utah’s contemporary art scene.

“To have that kind of impact on people with the visual arts is the highest goal for me,” Price says. “There was something about watching 337 impact the community — the excitement it generated. If contemporary art is done right and made accessible to enough people, it can completely change the way a city feels about itself. ”

The Off-Broadway Community Garden still embraces this original spirit of impact and community, this time focusing on the mission of empowering people of all ages and incomes to grow and eat healthy, organic, local food.

10479726_906500252717450_1083828795169520366_nIn Fall 2014, the site was selected to be the next community garden project for Wasatch Community Gardens, in partnership with SLC Green.   A generous grant from Partners for Places was a great opportunity for the Community Foundation of Utah‘s environmental fund to match outside dollars and create two new community gardens in Salt Lake City.  (The first garden from this grant supported the creation of the Popperton Plots-Avenues Community Garden in 2013.)

10952974_915986208435521_3877104543633731728_o 10496979_917236278310514_9021272669687777888_oA series of open houses were held, and people from the community participated in designing the new garden.
 
 
 

And then WCG took the piece of asphalt, the future community garden, and
tore it up!

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And brought in dirt for the garden plots.

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The gardeners built and installed garden boxes.

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The gardeners and Van, the WCG Garden Coordinator
worked relentlessly all spring and summer long!

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Larger volunteer groups helped in the garden as well.  The Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy brought in a group of international health experts visiting the United States to build garden boxes and fill them with dirt, while learning the role that Wasatch Community Gardens plays in providing access to and knowledge about healthy food.

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Apple Inc. employees from Fashion Place, City Creek, and  Station Place leveled pathways, shoveled dirt, and cleaned the garden.

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After many dedicated hours in the garden, plants started to grow…

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And grow…

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And grow…

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Into a vibrant and flourishing community garden with a two year wait list.  This is an extraordinary example of the high demands urban areas have for community gardens, highlighting its importance of strong, local food systems, and healthy food access.

Making Salt Lake City cool without flaunting it.

11816152_1008539655846842_1946833140321602634_o Make sure to join Wasatch Community Gardens, SLC Green, & the Community Foundation of Utah for the official

Off-Broadway Community Garden Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Monday, August 24 – 10:30 am
Off-Broadway Community Garden
337 S 400 E, SLC

Felecia

Commentary by Felecia Maxfield-Barrett, WCG Outreach Coordinator.
Photos from Off-Broadway Community Garden’s Facebook page.
Info about 337 Project found at Adam Price brings contemporary art to artistically conservative land – written by By Glen Warchol The Salt Lake Tribune.

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3 comments

  1. […] Step 10: Ongoing planning, new gardeners, & maintaining the site to promote a positive community relationship Explain how the garden works to new members, to continue the ongoing planning and operations of the gardens with an orientation. Encouraging neighborhood support ensure longevity and maintains the ongoing goals of the garden, along with remaining optimistic to get you through all the bumps that may occur along the road                                         Photo Credit: Off-Broadway Community Garden […]

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