In a March letter, the city told the Og-woi group it had to open all garden systems.
A nonprofit community garden in Salt Lake City is standing on May 1 to complete a photo memorial. is a community leader and open garden scene, but Wasatch Community Gardens is stepping in to help organizers secure funds that can secure the future.
In a March letter from the Public Lands Department addressed to garden volunteer Tom King, city leaders told volunteers at the Og-woi People’s Orchard and Garden, located on the west of Fairpark, they will remove the mural temporarily. stop planting if volunteers want to practice the site as a community garden one time.
The city also ordered the Og-woi group to remove all the garden boxes, trellises and wooden sheds they had built in the garden, and stop any other construction work there. . Starting May 1, the city said in the letter, “the Department of Public Lands may remove objects or plants from the garden at the discretion of the Department. “
The Og-woi garden has been a polarizing phenomenon since early 2020 when six young trees were planted without permission on a weedy piece of open land near the Jordan River and a cul -de-sac. Since then, it has grown to include a community bulletin board; portrait of Pacific Island activist Margarita Satini; raised garden beds; a memorial for garden volunteer Hali Vanderburg, who died of cancer in 2021; a vineyard; and a pollinator garden.
According to the city’s document, nearby residents have expressed “persistent and valid concerns” about the “failure to start the garden; the positive feelings of the soil; and the desire to ensure the use of of the internet in the right technologies to be a long-term community asset.
The Department of Public Lands has encouraged Og-woi volunteers to submit a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) application. Only after the approval and funding of the CIP application “can the Department of Public Land conduct public participation, planning, and construction for a suitable site.” , community support, is always used in this space.”
Mayor Erin Mendenhall addressed the issue of soil quality in another letter to the Og-woi community, dated April 6, saying “as someone who has struggled with the pollution that affects communities for my entire career, I can’t accept food and medicine. grow in soil contaminated with lead, arsenic, and benzopyrene. Benzopyrene comes from several things when not smoked, according to the National Cancer Institute.
But the CIP money allows for soil remediation in the garden, as well as paying for an irrigation line from the city so the garden doesn’t have to be watered from a private water source.
In their response to the mayor, the garden group announced their partnership with Wasatch Community Gardens, which manages all community gardens in Salt Lake City, according to Luke Allen, who is the community leader. , events and sales manager with Public Lands. Wasatch Community Gardens will also assist Og-woi through the CIP process.
“To ensure that medicinal and edible plants are grown in a manner approved by the city, we will begin working with [Wasatch Community Gardens] to immediately ensure safe agricultural practices and increase the availability of food in the summer,” said the garden association in their letter to the mayor.
Wasatch Community Gardens “has a solid track record of developing successful community gardens, so this is something new,” Allen told the Salt Lake Tribune. The organization manages the Fairpark Community Garden, the Rose Park Community Garden and 15 other areas in Salt Lake County.
Georgina Griffith-Yates, executive director of Wasatch Community Gardens, said in an email, “Wasatch Community Gardens is dedicated to empowering people to grow and eat their own food. I’m grateful for the opportunity. to do so through our partnership with the city to support important grass gardens like Og-woi.
“I think about Og-woi’s idea of the way forward in a partnership with the city through the CIP process, and the short-term results that can grow food in the year 2023,” continued he is.
Currently, the city is negotiating with Wasatch Community Gardens to “identify options for maintaining the Og-woi garden through the existing management agreement with the organization,” Allen said. He added that that agreement will be preserved in the mural of Satini, who died of COVID-19 in 2020.
“We are sorry for not removing this memorial,” said volunteer Adair Kovac. “It’s a terrible thing to face that.”
King added “that’s good [the city wants] keep working with our team. And it is better that they do not require the loss of all the resources that make the garden a good asset for the community.
As the talks progress, “we’re hopeful that some benefits will be saved on the site,” Allen said. “The city does not have plans or a specific date to open the garden facilities at this time.”