On a bright morning, volunteers gathered at a vacant lot near the 11th Street Bridge in Wilmington. Beset with dead trees, rubble, abandoned cars and dumped trash, it was probably the last place you’d choose to plant a garden.
That’s part of what makes the Delaware Center for Horticulture’s first urban farm market all the more miraculous. The quarter-acre lot is home to 35 raised beds that sprout healthy produce, thanks to neighborhood residents and volunteers. Getting there took more than 1,000 volunteer hours.
The garden officially opened to the public in June. A weekly farm market has operated every Saturday since. Gourmet mixed greens, radishes, kohlrabi and kale were some of the first veggies to roll out. The garden won national praise from the Garden Club of America. It has also attracted attention from local businesses—DCH will host a contest to see which Trolley Square restaurant can make the best salsa with the farm’s produce on September 23.
Yet its impact on the community might be its greatest feat.
“We wanted to bring all the benefits of community gardens to a broader scale, to people who aren’t necessarily interested in digging in dirt,” says DCH community gardens manager Ann Mattingly, “but would benefit from the access to healthy, nutritious food.”
To keep up with the latest crops, visit thedch.org. —Matt Amis