The Green Acres Neighborhood Garden (GANG) was established in the Spring of 2009, at the corner of DeKist and Overhill, Bloomington, Indiana.
In the spring of 2016, while still continuing as a neighborhood garden, it evolved into the Green Acres Urban Farm which sells seedling plants and offers a small CSA with one full share and two half shares. In 2017, the CSA will expand to a few more shares.
Ann Kreilkamp bought the house next door to hers, specifically because it had a large, south-facing, sunny side lawn that she could convert to a neighborhood garden. For the first three years, the house itself was rented out to IU students, and the garden provided space for sustainability projects through SPEA (Indiana University), as well as workshops in permaculture.
Beginning in 2014, Rebecca Ellsworth moved into the DeKist house and, as Ann’s partner in this visionary/practical endeavor, they began to create a template for permaculture that not only included gardens, but also growing community within the two house “ecopod,” which now consists of six people, three in each house, all of whom are dedicated to growing community as well as food.
Neighbors who work in the garden are welcome to participate in the harvest.
The purpose of the Urban Farm is to create a commons rooted agriculture and reciprocity. We hope to collaborate with neighbors, growers, and artists in creating a hyper-local economy that models a culture of stewardship and right livelihood.
The Urban Farm is an organic evolution of the original goals of the GANG, which were:
1. To inspire community in the neighborhood by creating a commons.
2. To grow food using permaculture principles.
3. To educate neighbors and others how to grow food using permaculture principles.
4. To provide experience for fledgling permaculture teachers.
5. To serve as one type of template for food re-localization. This particular neighborhood garden is unusual in that it utilizes private property for a public good.
The first three goals of the GANG are still intact. However, the third goal has morphed from formal classes with teachers into a demonstration site that features weekly work hours during the growing season where friends and neighbors gather to learn from master gardeners how to work with plants in a permacultural manner.
The fifth goals also remains intact. Though the two properties remain “privately owned” by one individual, plans are in the works to create a legal structure for them that both distributes ownership and ensures continuity for this permaculture experiment which now features a new motto: “Growing community from the ground up.”