Cultivating Community Garden in the Oakbrook Neighborhood
In response to Council Vice President Sihelnik Victory Garden Task Force’s outcome during the pandemic. “Cultivating Community Garden in the Oakbrook Neighborhood” focuses on helping Oakbrook reach food security. In 2020, the Victory Garden Task Force successfully gave over 100 garden boxes to the Oakbrook Community. After the success of the garden boxes, the natural progression of the initiative was to organize and plan a community garden to allow the Oakbrook Community to grow their own vegetables and herbs in a local and secure area.
Led by Guadalupe Flores from Berks Community Health Center and Tanya Melendez from the 18th Wonder Improvement Association, “Cultivating Community Garden in the Oakbrook Neighborhood” became a collaborative group of different organizations and partners that brought their unique assets to the team. These organizations include the 18th Wonder Improvement Association, Berks Community Health Center, Berks Nature, the City of Reading, Reading Housing Authority, St. Constantine and Helen, and United Way of Berks County. The outpouring of donations and volunteers from the community has also been significant for this project.
The community garden is located on Reading Housing Authority’s property at 1040 Liggett Ave. in the fenced area next to the Berks Community Health Center. This location is ideal for the Oakbrook Neighborhood to have access to the community garden within walking distance. The next step is to build raised garden beds throughout the summer to offer to people with limited mobility next year and to provide educational opportunities and resources, free of charge to the public. The first educational program for this project will be the installation of Rain Barrels on June 8th at 5:30 pm in the community garden site. We are asking people interested in this to register so that we are able to manage the number of people attending to follow the States COVID guidelines.
The “Cultivating Community Garden in the Oakbrook Neighborhood” seeks to empower people to grow their own food, improving food security for individuals and families in need. We want to be able to provide this community the opportunity for positive social interaction and recreation in a beautiful, non-threatening atmosphere where individuals of all ages and backgrounds may interact in a healthy pursuit.