Franklinton Gardens is revitalizing vacant lots throughout the neighborhood located on the west side of downtown Columbus with crops of nearly any vegetable one could imagine. A steady stream of volunteers and support from AmeriCorps Vista helped create urban agriculture revitalization, unlike anything else in the city.
Franklinton Gardens began in 2007 with one plot, but the non-profit expanded to nearly 1.25 acres. Molly Hendrix, a volunteer and Franklinton Garden's selling representative said, "We have long term cheap or free leases with people who want us to garden on this land."
One site is a classic community garden where neighbors can have a plot and grow whatever they like. The majority of the plots are cultivated by volunteers from AmeriCorps, surrounding colleges, neighbors and especially children. Hendrix loves working with kids in the community. The kids say, these people are doing cool things in the dirt, and I want to do cool things in the dirt.
Crops are planted and harvested throughout the year, but summer is by far the busiest season for the organization. Hendrix said, "It's just plant and harvest, plant and harvest."
As a vendor at Pearl Market every Tuesday this summer, Franklinton Gardens brings an assortment of produce to sell. However, fruit is what people want. Strawberries and black raspberries have been clear best sellers. Expect garlic, tomatoes and many more farm fresh products to roll in the remainder of the Market season.