Seedleaf – Lexington Community Gardening

When a seed starts germinating, the first 2 leaves that appear are called seed leafs.  They are produced by the seed and help the new plant photosynthesize and grow.  They are the beginning of what can become a great and productive plant!

For a Lexington non-profit called Seedleaf, which has established and supported community gardening throughout the City, it represents the promise of helping communities grow strong and united. 

What started with one garden in 2007, is now an organization that supports 13 gardens throughout Lexington.  They are free “u-pick” gardens in areas that lack access to fresh produce , and they are maintained primarily by volunteers and community members.  The gardens are places where neighbors and volunteers join efforts to connect with one another, reconnect with their food and the soil, and strengthen their unity and collective purpose.  In the next few years, Seedleaf wants to focus intensely on growing growers. Seedleaf has provided free u-pick gardens to the Northside neighborhoods for 13 years, which helps close the gap of disproportionately unequal access to  fresh produce. Now, Seedleaf would also like to build a city of gardens and gardeners, that operate independently. 

The ultimate success of Seedleaf is a day where we get to close shop because there are so many people growing their own food and starting community gardens and community markets with low cost produce. To that end, we are increasing our work with youth.

Christine Smith, Seedleaf’s Executive Director

In recent years, they have doubled the number of SEEDS kids that we work with and started a new program called Food Researcher and Environmental Science for High School (FRESHS). They have also increased their footprint in schools with the hiring of an Education Outreach Coordinator, Joanna Sorrell.  For adults, they offer the Market Garden Program that works with Lexington residents over 18 to train them to grow food to sell, which currently has 7 market gardeners enrolled for the 2020-2021 year.  “I suppose what I have in mind is a total takeover and remaking of Lexington into a verdant food oasis!”

Seedleaf plans to expand outside of North Lexington, focusing in other communities in Lexington that face issues with food accessibility. They are taking time to research and talk with different neighborhood partners and residents. In the meantime, they are working diligently to get our website and educational material translated into French and Spanish so that more of our neighbors and Lexington Community members can stay up-to-date with our work.   And always welcoming volunteers, to help with education and outreach, maintenance of gardens and many other tasks.

I have a personal connection with Seedleaf.  For many years, I worked with them as a partner in education efforts, and lead presentations about composting and food waste in Lexington, and for 3 years I had the privilege to serve in their board.  But my favorite part was to get in the gardens and get my hands dirty.  (I did a lot of weeding, unglamorous work but needed).

Seedleaf is a great community organization that is doing amazing grass root work, helping the neighborhoods grow (literally)!  For more information, to sign up to be a volunteer and to learn how to help them grow growers, visit www.Seedleaf.org.

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