Students in field

Ryan Street Community Garden Receives Expansion Grant

June 25, 2020

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The Ryan Street Community Garden (RSCG) received a grant from the Portage Health Foundation for $5,000. The garden, found on Finlandia’s campus, will use the funds to add an additional seven plots for community members to rent, a new path along perennial beds, a bench, and picnic table. Finlandia University granted additional land for the expansion located in the lot adjacent to the Ryan House. RSCG will be recruiting local volunteers including Finlandia students to help with labor and design in the near future.

“Community gardens provide a unique intervention that can bridge the divide between people and where their food is grown, thereby improving food security, while providing health, social, and developmental benefits to community members of all ages. In addition to the health benefits with respect to increased access to healthy food, gardening itself provides a great means of exercise. Many garden members walk and/or bike to the garden, as it is easily accessible and centrally located in downtown Hancock.  It is open to the public to enjoy shade and beauty, and is a focal point in the neighborhood for walkers.” said Mandy Louniboss, the Director of RSCG.

The garden has turned into a highly-productive effort that is sustainable with a minimal operating budget due to volunteerism, shared governance, and support from the local community. According to RSCG, because the experience has been so rich and fruitful, membership is relatively stable with little turnover.

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“At times, locals have waited one or two full garden seasons to gain access to a plot. As such, the local demand is greater than our capacity.  The Portage Health Foundation grant will enable RSCG to add seven plots for community members to rent.” said Louniboss.

RSCG was established in 2010 as part of the Campus and Community: Together for Good initiative, a “strategic and creative long-term exchange of resources” between Finlandia University and the community of Hancock. Finlandia University hosts the garden on campus land and the City of Hancock provides ongoing support and access to free water and mulch annually.

Interested in being apart of the Ryan Street Community Garden? Click Here

Interested in giving to the garden? Visit their Garden Wishlist Here

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