The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department has opened registration for residents to rent garden plots in the Willie Streeter Community Gardens and the Butler Park Community Gardens. Community Gardening Program Manager Robin Hobson says the program began in 1984 and has grown to 184 plots at the Willie Streeter location. Some of the plots are raised beds for accessible gardening and there is a community garden in Butler Park with 39 plots.
Hobson says the Parks and Recreation Department provides water, composting facilities, fencing, communal tools, and other services to help maintain the gardens. The gardens have parking located nearby, and both are located on Bloomington Transit bus routes.
The department offers scholarships for those in need, which covers 85 percent of cost remission for the gardening program.
Hobson says that these gardens provide individuals a place to grow their own food and learn from other gardeners.
“The community benefits from these plots because people can supplement their tables with the food they grow, providing themselves with the freshest and most local produce possible,” Hobson says, “They can also share gardening activities with other gardeners and learn from other peoples’ techniques.”
Parks and Recreation partners with Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard Food Pantry at some gardening locations. Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard reaches out to community members by offering youth gardening education, gardening classes, and gardening activities. Individuals who have rented plots in 2013 can renew their plots from now until Feb. 14. New gardeners, and anyone who would like to move to another gardening location, can begin registering on Feb. 18.