Jamilah Rasheed has been backyard gardening for 25 years. She always found joy and fulfillment in not only eating from her own garden but in being hands-on in growing fresh vegetables. After attending a New Haven Food Policy council Food Summit in October 2012, where Will Allen of Growing Power was the guest speaker, she was inspired to pursue using a vacant lot on the street that she lives on as a community garden. She wasn’t familiar with the New Haven Land Trust until she went on a bus tour of some of the gardens we maintained and spoke with a woman who insisted that I contact the NHLT for help. The NHLT welcomed Jamilah's request to join our organization. We contacted the City of New Haven and secured a one year lease for the lot on 8 Arthur St.
This garden secured $3,200.00 in grants from the New England Green Fund, Community Foundation of New Haven, CARE at Yale University, and the New Haven Green Fund. This money covered most of the garden's startup costs, including wood for raised beds, tools, a shed, the installation of a fence around the garden, seedlings from Common Ground High School, etc. NHLT covered the cost of soil and water usage. The South Central Regional Water Authority, with the help of NHLT, installed the water meter free of charge.
In 2014, there are four adults who are committed to working in the garden. Many community members have found the garden to be very positive for the community. The children who are involved have found the garden to be fun and exciting. There have been many positive expressions about the space from those who stop as they are walking past the garden.
When there is excess produce, the gardeners have gone door to door and given it out. People are learning more about the purpose of the garden and seem excited to get involved in the spring.
Overall the neighborhood has benefited greatly from the presence of this beautiful green space, which was once a trash filled vacant lot.