July 30, 2019

PUNCH and Hilltop Campus Village Urban Garden

By Scott Tunnicliff
Hilltop Campus Village

PUNCH and Hilltop Campus Village, with great help from Genesis Marketing and Communications and others, has worked to increase the amount of nutritious food available to the community, as well as to help build community in the neighborhoods. Multiple Urban Gardens have been planted, tended and harvested, and are now in the process of being replanted for a second harvest. There are multiple strategic goals in this endeavor.

One is to have a 12-month growing season, utilizing the seed beds inside a heated “Hoop House.” Plants can take root and grow to a point where they can be re-potted and eventually placed outside in the raised beds.

Another strategic goal is to help people of all ages learn more about gardening, to encourage people to start their own gardens. Toward this end, some of the plants will be given to those requesting them, so that they might find a new home in residential yards.

Still, a third goal is to build awareness of the value of the harvest. It is with this in mind that on September 7, an “Urban Taste” is planned.  It will showcase how the foods raised in these gardens can be used in various recipes, and even be combined with other locally grown products to make delicious soups, pies and other healthy treats. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilltop Campus Village Urban Garden at 15th and Scott Street, near the Iowa-American Water Tower. Various church groups and other organizations are being asked to provide recipes and samples so that people can see and taste what can be wrought from these gardens and by extension, their own yards.

There are many garden plots in the community. The Urban Taste event is intended to build awareness and encourage there to be more. It is good for residents, good for building community within neighborhoods and, yes, even
good exercise!

It has also been very encouraging to see the number of partner organizations becoming more enthused about this evolving initiative.