Community Garden Grows Food for All
Kwodwo Ababio's collard greens and cabbage are known even to the out-of-town volunteers who came to help build a much bigger community garden so that he can continue to cook from it and to foster the growth of the community.
Ababio owns the New Harvest Cafe and tends the Alma Vera garden next to his cafe, at 2455 Cleveland Avenue. He has done so for five years, but on June 2, sponsors sent volunteers, supplies, soil and tools to make-over the patch of ground where produce grew between broken concrete.
He has given away surplus produce to North Linden residents since the beginning of his garden. The new garden will be able to produce more greens, cabbage, tomatoes, and peppers for his cafe and for sale by school children to teach them about agriculture and business.
Ababio has plans to use the bigger and better community garden to build community arts and youth education. Although he owns and runs a cafe, he says he's an artist first and foremost.
Such a community garden offers a place of growth, serenity, and fellowship, all of which is uplifting in a neighborhood struck hard by the recession, foreclosure and violence.
Uniquely located on the main business corridor and being more visible to people driving up and down Cleveland Avenue than other community gardens, Ababio's labor of love could potentially attract more businesses and residents to Linden.
The obvious social, economic, and environmental advantages of community gardens probably prompted mayor Coleman to say that he would like to see as many as 500 community gardens in Columbus. There are currently about 200 throughout the city.
In terms of positive environmental impact, more gardens that soak up rainwater means less pavement and less storm water runoff that pollute watersheds.
Patches of vegetation will also attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other forms of wildlife.
It's wonderful to see people and animals reconnect with the earth to witness all the goodness that can come from it.