Securing Our Future, Gardens of Millvale | Millvale Borough Development Council:
PROGRAM: Catalytic 2016
GRANTEE: Millvale Borough Development Corporation
Across from the Gardens of Millvale’s original garden, a series of parcels purchased and protected from future development by FEMA after flooding and given to the Borough, is the largest collection of parcels utilized by the Gardens of Millvale. This is the land that the Gardens are seeking to purchase – 8, 10, 12 and 14 Butler Street and 3, 5 and 7 Hays Street. On these parcels are 25 individual, family and community plots and a hoop house. This area consists of multiple lots once occupied by many houses which were destroyed by a fire and obtained by the Borough. Even though these parcels are also located in the floodplain, they were not purchased by FEMA and are therefore, eligible for development. Similarly, although residential properties were once located on these sites, the area is zoned commercial. Vacant land is limited and there are no other public green spaces in Millvale large enough for the hoop house and 25 plots. This grant will allow the Gardens of Millvale to acquire these parcels and protect this community asset from current sales pressure for development, and prevent the loss of a key building block for the Millvale community. This is a resident-led, proactive project that supports the Millvale EcoDistrict Plan, local businesses (including Farm Truck Foods and Tupelo Honey Teas), and the forthcoming Food Hub.
Along with the purchasing of the properties, Gardens of Millvale will establish a position for a paid project manager. This person will oversee the project through its entirety, as well as work with a Chatham University Masters of Sustainability student and establish relationships with local businesses to help become more sustainable. The manager will measure the success of the Gardens of Millvale through various ways; weighing product harvested, tracking how much produce is sold and donated, overall attendance increasing (i.e. work log use), etc. Through implementation of the new crop share program, the manager will work with a small group of people to test this concept for future garden productivity. Events and fundraisers will also be coordinated by the project manager. The Gardens of Millvale is also working to implement a business plan and strategic plan.
Through working with New Sun Rising’s -Millvale Food Pod (an organization that helps startups get the connections, information and support they need to succeed), The Gardens of Millvale are striving to create these plans over the course of the next six months. With this funding, they will have access to the tools to create a more professional business model as well as receive networking, education, collaboration, and growth opportunities for the garden organization as a whole.