Jun 062012

Parks, transportation, agriculture

Editor’s note: With public money now starting to pour into the Rupp Arena Opportunity Zone, NoC decided to start a series called, “What we’d do.” In the series, we will take the money earmarked for Rupp, and in most cases any stipulations applied to that money, and develop alternate plans for re-directing it into more socially, environmentally and economically beneficial projects. Total costs for Rupp Zone development range between $600 million and $1 billion.

In order to receive the $2.5 million in state economic development funds earmarked for Rupp Zone, residents of Lexington-Fayette Urban County must generate a matching $2.5 million in funds from the upcoming local budget. Reports indicate that city leaders plan to bond (borrow) half of this amount, $1.25 million, and then to re-direct $1.25 million of county-wide funds from a variety of agencies into a pool of money to be used specifically for the Rupp Zone. Here it is in mathematic form: Continue reading »

Jun 062012

By Beth Connors-Manke

It seemed completely appropriate to interview Ryan Koch, the executive director of Seedleaf, on his front porch. Koch sat in a rocking chair; I took up the “grandpa glider” that Koch tells me is Amish-made.

Hospitable and relaxed, Koch asked me if I needed a drink as I stationed myself on the glider. Northerner that I am, I asked if the tea he offered was unsweetened. He said “no” in a nice way to my silly question, and I opted to remain drinkless during the interview. Looking back now, the sweet tea might have helped, as vertigo set in later in the conversation.

We chatted amicably about something or other, but as soon as I slid in my first interview question, Koch was ready. “We’ve got 15 gardens, the furthest of which is a half-acre out at Coldstream. Seven are market gardens; eight are community gardens.”

If you don’t already know that Seedleaf runs community gardens around town, especially in formerly ignored plots of land on the northside, you must not leave your house or your car. Walk around the northside with your eyes open on a sunny day, and you’ll see strange things: scraggly lots (which probably only produced litter before) will suddenly have hand-made raised wooden boxes full of dirt. Walk by again in a few weeks and that dirt is sprouting something: vegetables. Once your antennae are up, you’ll notice that these boxes multiply when you’re not looking. After you see the small ones, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t already noticed the bigger gardens, such as the London Ferrell Community Garden on Third Street, near Elm Tree.

North Pole community garden on N. Limestone. Photo by Brian Connors-Manke.

Continue reading »

Apr 082010

Seedleaf tangles with food-to-fork dilemma

By Katelynn Austin

It is no understatement to say that we are ruled by the junk food gods and our prayers are not being answered. Our health is deteriorating, our natural resources are deteriorating, as are our family meals that used to find us sitting around a table of homemade food.

In response to this state of affairs, a growing number of food activists have appeared on both the global and local scene to emphasize the value of fresh produce. Global organizations like Terra Madre and Kitchen Gardeners International have given rise, here in Lexington, to local groups like In-Feed, the Lexington Urban Gleaning Network, Seedleaf and the Bluegrass Community Garden Network—not to mention the more anonymous workers on local farm and urban garden initiatives that have also begun to flourish here. Each of these groups, in one way or another, have asked individuals to weigh the cost of a candy bar or chemically-infused processed foods against their own and their communities’ health: nutritional, environmental, economic, and social. Continue reading »