Heading into 2016 we have a lot on our plate. There are many things we want for our neighborhood. In 2015, we created a nonprofit organization to help legitimize a few of our projects. We will continue these projects in 2016.
We plan to grow food on ten city-owned, vacant lots this year with the help of our volunteers. In the past, our all volunteer workforce has tilled up garden beds by shovel and created no till gardens using alternative methods. They have boarded up homes with their own tools and created public space where there before had been blight.
This year we need to do it right. We will not only enlist volunteers to help in the gardens, but we will maintain a tiller and other tools to make our jobs easier. We will not only create public spaces, but will make sure they are zoned by the city and maintained by our neighbors.
Another continuing project is our bike shop. Over the last three years, volunteers from our neighborhood have fixed and donated hundreds of bicycles to children in the area. This project has gained a lot of interest. Most of an old, donated bike can be recycled and rebuilt, but we need help. This has been a mostly successful project thus far, but to really make it work we will need to find a way to purchase certain parts that just aren't as good second hand such as tires and tubes. Specialty tools such as cone wrenches are expensive and need replaced occasionally, but they allow us reuse more of the donated bike frames we get.
We hope to secure as many spaces for gardens and public parks in our area as we can take care of. The more volunteer interest we generate, the more we can do. We hope to accomplish this with a satellite garden program. We will be enlisting renters and homeowners alike in our area to grow their own gardens. We will be able to multiply our efforts by linking together our gardens and sending help upon each garden's inception and on a regular basis to help maintain them.
If everything goes well, we will have a good number of people in our neighborhood growing food. To offset some of the costs, we will sell potted plants in the spring as well as food from our gardens in the summer and fall at a couple different farm stands (details to come). Our finances are very modest, and we are able to do much work with few resources.
In 2016 we will have more volunteers, more connectivity with our neighbors, and more money to support our projects. Imagine what we can accomplish this year.