A community garden has been installed in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood, culminating six months of effort by SCaRP’s Social Justice Committee.
The Social Justice Committee (SJC) met with the Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association (PCIA) to help create a plan for a community garden on a vacant lot in their neighborhood in summer 2010, after which they researched design options, operational scenarios and funding opportunities for the garden. After conducting preliminary research and meeting with other community gardeners in the city, the SJC presented their findings to the neighborhood residents to obtain their feedback. This input was incorporated into the plan to augment the design of the garden to include a playground.
PCIA used the SJC’s plan to create a management structure and bylaws for the garden, inform its design and utilize as a fundraising tool. By establishing a partnership with Park Pride, they were able to successfully raise the funds to build the garden in February 2011. Members of the SJC along with students from Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University volunteered for the build day of the garden’s construction and the Salvation Army provided food for the event. Pierre Gaither, Operations Manager for PCIA, was instrumental in working with the SJC and implementing the plan. “It has been a long time coming and we are finally about to reap the fruits of much invested labor. It could not have been done without the Social Justice Committee,” said Gaither.
Several Master of City and Regional Planning students were involved with moving this project forward, including Jesse Clark, Mike Cutno, Erin Rosintoski, and Andrea Rattray. Reflecting on the their work toward the garden’s advancement from planning to implementation, Clark remarked, “Volunteering our valuable technical skills to help an underserved community was a rewarding experience we will take with us throughout our careers.”
The Social Justice Committee (SJC) is comprised of graduate student volunteers from the School of City and Regional Planning who are interested in giving back to their community. The goal of the SJC is to create opportunities for students to apply their education and experience through planning projects that benefit communities in need of assistance. Visit the SJC website.