By Lauren Subia
Photos Courtesy of Urban Farming Education

Last fall, our vibrant North 32nd community adopted a garden located near 22nd Street and Sweetwater Avenue. The original mission of the garden was to plant, nurture, and grow produce that would then be given back to the North 32nd community and the people supported by Thrive AZ. However, Thrive AZ relocated, and the entire community garden was gifted to the North 32nd community.

“During the course of the last year, Thrive AZ centralized their operations assisting kids aging out of the foster care system and foster families being reunified to better support the nearby population,” says Allison Barnett, an ambassador for North 32nd. “Last year, some of the produce was donated to the Thrive AZ community until they moved. Once they moved, there were less people helping care for the garden.”

This is when Barnett reached out to Kim Rillero, executive director of Urban Farming Education, to see if there might be an opportunity for support to continue the garden through the hands of North 32nd community members.
Urban Farming Education (weareufe.org) is a nonprofit that primarily serves schools, homeless shelters, domestic abuse shelters, foster care prevention centers, and the disabled and elderly to, “Build gardens and conduct programs designed for education, sustenance, ecotherapy, social impact, and urban farming for profit,” according to the organization. The nonprofit was able to help North 32nd by donating seeds to the community garden.

Last month, the community held a planting party at the garden. “Different North 32nd community members adopted rows that they were responsible for cleaning out then planting seeds or their own plants,” explains Barnett. “Everyone who adopts a row is responsible for keeping their row going by tending to it one to two times a month. Over the coming months, we will be having other clean-ups to help with the perimeter of the garden.”

To get involved in the community garden, local residents may join the North 32nd Gardens group on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/gardens32. For those not on Facebook, they can e-mail Barnett at allison@north32nd.com.