Essence of Community
Bayfront East Side Taskforce (BEST) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the East Bayfront neighborhood, a 25 city block area in Erie, Pennsylvania. After successfully creating our first community garden in the spring of 2013, propelled by the enthusiasm of our neighbors, we are excited to begin plans for a second community garden on a vacant lot in the neighborhood. The goal of the garden is to provide neighbors with a safe and peaceful place to enjoy the company of one another and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables.
The East Bayfront neighborhood is composed of a diverse group of individuals and families, who despite challenges, have a fierce love for their neighborhood. Residents struggle with the problem of poverty; 49% of individuals in the East Bayfront neighborhood live below the poverty level. The area is classified as a food desert, as many residents lack transportation to groceries stores, which lie over a mile outside of the neighborhood. Many refugees live in the neighborhood, and this population especially has shown excitement about the community gardens. Families originally from Bhutan, who spent years as refugees in Nepal, are frequently farmers by trade. Most of these families live in rental properties now, and before the creation of the community gardens, lacked the space for growing and benefiting from their own crops.
This first phase of this garden will feature fruit bushes and fruit trees. Additional funding secured from a local arts institution will allow for installation of murals in the garden as well. We envision the artwork playing a key role in drawing people in to visit the garden, while the fruit will entice them to stay and take an active role in maintaining the garden.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA