By Jennifer Johnson
Englewood Christian Church and the Englewood Community Development Corporation (Indianapolis, IN) planted a community garden years before such projects became trendy, but this year State Farm is giving them $25,000 to take it to another level.
“A woman in our congregation keeps an eye out for potential grants, and [she] submitted an application to State Farm Neighborhood Assist on our behalf,” says Chris Smith, a member of Englewood Christian Church and editor of The Englewood Review of Books. “The 3,000 entries were eventually narrowed down to 40 winners, chosen in part by voting on Facebook. We were thrilled, and a little surprised, to be one of them.”
Englewood will use the money to realize its dream of an expanded garden and outdoor play space for its urban neighborhood.
“We connected with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, a local nonprofit that works to create vibrant public places, to design a plan,” Smith says. “The area will include fruit and shade trees, a water feature for kids to play in, climbing hills, a picnic shelter, and, of course, the garden. We may build tunnels through the climbing hills and add a tree house, and we’re exploring other ideas.”
The area will also encourage artistic pursuits, with several large murals positioned at one end, and volunteers will use the church kitchen—which has been certified for commercial use—to teach neighborhood families how to can and preserve the garden’s bounty. Englewood hopes to complete the project before the first frost this fall.