The historic Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden was the first community garden in Cincinnati and is an excellent example of people coming together to improve a neighborhood and build a beautiful garden in the heart of Over-the-Rhine. In 1980, Over-the-Rhine community members and the Civic Garden Center worked together to turn four East McMicken Avenue vacant lots into a productive vegetable garden. As a result of the project’s success the Civic Garden Center established the Neighborhood Gardens Program (now the Community Gardens Program) and has helped community groups start and maintain over 50 successful community gardens through the Greater Cincinnati Area’s low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. In 2013 the Civic Garden Center purchased the remaining two lots and now the garden will remain a community-centered vegetable garden for years to come.
Christina Matthews, employee with Paul Mitchell the School Cincinnati, along with neighborhood school teacher and horticulturist, Ali Burns, saw the great need faced by the neighborhood surrounding Over-the-Rhine People’s Garden and together they successfully applied for a grant from Grow Appalachia to support the garden. OTR resident, Michael “Bashi” Jackson has also put a lot of time and energy in the garden as a dedicated volunteer and Garden Coordinator. Bashi completed a big portion of the construction work by building the new beds and retaining walls, he mows the garden weekly (weather permitting), teaches how to work with the land and has formed beautiful relationships with community members to encourage more neighbors to be involved.
Paul Mitchell the School Cincinnati personally got involved with Grow Appalachia thanks to the culture in its schools. The culture of its schools encourages individuals to do more for their community and self. As the active Green Team leader at Paul Mitchell the School Cincinnati, OTR resident and lover of growing food, Christina Matthews thought that Grow Appalachia, Paul Mitchell Schools and CGC would meld beautifully together. Two years later these partners have all accomplished more than anyone could have ever imagined. Paul Mitchell the School Cincinnati, The Civic Garden Center and our garden participants would like to thank John Paul Dejoria and Grow Appalachia for the beautiful gift of becoming a Grow Appalachia partner site. “Success unshared is failure.” -John Paul Dejoria