Artists from the Arts District on Santa Fe have been working with UrbiCulture to create a new urban farming space, Gabrielle's Garden, in the La Alma and Lincoln Park neighborhood, adjacent to the art district. The farm, which is just one of the many spaces UrbiCulture farms each year in urban and low-income communities, will grow fresh produce to be sold at affordable prices for locals.
Stephanie Meehan, with UrbiCulture, explains that she got the idea to create the space based on her experience living in the Santa Fe area.
"There is a strong sense of community in the Art District, but somewhat of a divide between the people who live in the community, and the artists," she explains. "This project is meant to bridge the community between the art district and the La Alma and Lincoln Park neighborhood. That's why the artists are involved in the whole process."
Some of those artists were out on Saturday, to help build a fence surrounding the property. The space for the farm was donated by Ted Gill. So far, members of the community have donated water, materials, their time, and their art.
One of UrbiCulture's main goals is to provide healthy food options for those who wouldn't otherwise have the means to afford the organic and pesticide-free food purchased for higher prices at chain markets. The advantage, according to UrbiCulture, is that the program utilizes unused space, like front yards, back yards and vacant lots to keep food grown locally, within a community. Without transport, costs are lower and farming stays greener due to lower emission usage.
"There is a need for locally grown, healthy, affordable food in the La Alma and Lincoln Park area" says co-founder Jonathan Orlando. "This project fits that need. We've also always had a vision for education and part of the space will be used for education and art classes. We've started networking with the artists to bring them out and have sculptures there and artwork around the garden, too."
And according to both Meehan and Orlando, the artists in the Arts District on Santa Fe have already stepped forward to participate in the project full-force.
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"It's been interesting to see how much support has come forward," says co-founder Jonathan Orlando. "And, this project has gotten a lot of that support really, really, quickly. It's been amazing."
Orlando and Meehan are still looking for help with Gabrielle's Garden. They need materials and help planting and getting the garden grow-ready. Heading down to the farmer's market will also give support to the project, which continues to expand.
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"It's been very inspiring to see everyone come out," says Meehan. "If given the opportunity, people will work hard to give to something bigger then themselves. This project proves that, and it's been really amazing to see."