SOUTH SHORE — Gardeners in South Shore are getting help making their garden permanent with assistance from artist Theaster Gates.
Gates’ Rebuild Foundation is sponsoring a plea from gardeners to get four vacant city-owned lots at 6953 S. Dorchester Ave. for a community garden for $1 from the city, unless officials hear a better idea for the property in the next 30 days.
“In a time when fast food is more readily available than nutritional and organic produce, it is important to educate this community about alternative food sources and nutritional values,” Ken Stewart, CEO of the Rebuild Foundation wrote to the city. “We are committed to continue our work of organizing volunteers and neighbors, soliciting in-kind donations, commissioning artists to create public works of beauty, as well as, creating public programs for the garden around topics of food justice, wellness and nutrition.”
The foundation is sponsoring the project, and Stewart said it would continue to help with converting the vacant lot into 20 raised vegetable gardens, two flower beds, fruit trees, a picnic bench and space for communal meals and rotating art installations and possibly a green house in the future.
Gardeners have already been using the property for four years and the city is now willing to pitch in $129,250 from open space impact fees, money raised from fees the city assesses on new buildings, in this case buildings in South Shore. The largest expense is expected to be $34,000 for the installation of a new water hydrant.
The garden across the street from the South Shore Fine Arts Academy will be sponsored locally by Gates’ foundation, but the land will be owned by NeighborSpace, a nonprofit that helps administer gardens in the city.
The foundation and about 15 gardeners have already been using the property for four years, but the sale would make the garden permanent and allow for more ambitious art and gardening projects.
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