Junior League of Louisville and Urban Garden
The Junior League of Louisville’s Urban Garden Initiative started in 2009 to unite the local community and its organizations with sustainable life practices. As a subset of the Junior League’s Be Fit Be Fine community health and wellness program, the Urban Garden Committee established three gardens totaling over 1200 square feet in the Metro Louisville area: the Jefferson County Russell Community Garden in West Louisville, the East Main Street Garden, and the YMCA Safeplace Services garden near the University of Louisville campus.
In 2010 the Junior League of Louisville (JLL) began to provide Dare to Care with fresh produce. During that time they contributed 12 donations of a total 130 lbs. of fresh produce, the result of over 360 hours of community service. Over 65 percent of the committee’s budget is sustained directly by the community through the Nickels for Nonprofits campaign at Whole Foods Market in St. Matthews. Louisville has several “food deserts,” including the area surrounding the Russell Community Garden in West Louisville. A food desert is a an area replete with high prices, poor quality, narrow variety, and limited availability of fresh food, especially produce. According to the Louisville Metro Health Department, in West Louisville, 74 percent of the population is overweight or obese, 37 percent suffer from high blood pressure, and 12 percent live with diabetes. Fresh produce can play an important role in overcoming these factors.
In addition to meeting a desperate need within our community, garden work nourishes the mind, body and soul. It is the combination of nature, physical labor, healthy foods, urban landscape transformation, community gathering, and cross-generational interaction that feeds the Junior League of Louisville’s continued dedication and support to the Urban Garden Initiative.
Urban Gardens Created:
- Russel Garden
- Main Street Garden
- SafePlace Garden
- Volunteers of America
- HOTI Garden
- Peoples Garden (Shawnee)
- Family Scholar House