Monday, June 14, 2010
Two vacant lots on Butler Street in Millvale swarmed with people Saturday—constructing beds for growing vegetables on one side of the street, weeding and planting sunflowers on the other. Allegheny County is providing $50,000 for community gardens here and in McKees Rocks through “Allegheny Grows”, with lots of other help from Grow Pittsburgh, GTech Strategies, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
In case of soil contamination, especially from lead, vegetables will be planted in thirteen raised wooden beds filled with clean soil. Community members have chosen to plant lots of tomatoes, zucchini and other squash, peppers and herbs.
Sunflowers go directly into the ground because they're not for eating, but for biofuel. They also cleanse the soil, according to Judy Wagner of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
Lisa Vance Kramer grew up with a big family garden in Spring Hill on the North Side but doesn't have much room at her Millvale home, so she and her husband, son and daughter are all enjoying working in the sunflower field.
Mayor Vincent Cinski points proudly at the many young volunteers and says the gardens are turning a disaster where buildings burned down into something positive for the whole community.
Listen to the story from WDUQ'S Charlee Song