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Local Entrepreneurs Are Funding Franklinton’s New Educational Garden

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Local Entrepreneurs Are Funding Franklinton’s New Educational Garden
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When you’re growing up in a food desert, knowing which food is healthy, where to get it, and how to cook it doesn’t come as naturally as it should. Franklinton Gardens, the non-profit behind the eight community gardens scattered throughout the neighborhood, is looking to change that for the neighborhood’s residents. With the help of a startup fund from Rev1 Ventures, Franklinton Gardens hopes to launch an educational garden by this fall.

The plan itself is still in its infancy. They’ve yet to build the actual plot, but they’re working with workforce development group Clean Turn, employing restored citizens to complete the manual labor around the project. Local development service Rev1 Ventures contributed with funding as well, naming Franklinton Gardens the first recipient of their START fund, launched in December.

Rev1 Ventures’ initial $10,000 contribution to the START fund has doubled since take off. Franklinton Gardens received $5,000 of that this Tuesday for fitting four categories: connecting communities, education, sustainable food solutions and workforce development.

Kristy Campbell, COO and CMO at Rev1, said the goal is to have more than just a monetary impact on the educational garden and projects like it. Ultimately, they want to connect the city’s entrepreneurs to the community they’ve been able to thrive in by providing an opportunity to give back.

“We’re connecting entrepreneurs to these initiatives and we see those things going beyond,” she said. “For example, there are already quite a few entrepreneurs that are interested in volunteering and even helping to do some of the marketing for Franklinton Gardens, so I think that’s the snowball effect that we’re going to be seeing in connecting these initiatives to the entrepreneurial community.”

Once the garden is constructed, an education coordinator will develop a curriculum. The position, requiring $35-40,000 to fund, will coach Franklinton residents and others in Columbus on the ins and outs of gardening.

Sitting next to Avondale Elementary and Gladden Community House, the educational garden will hopefully be a good resource for the adults and children who already frequent the area, said Heather Langerman, Franklinton Gardens Board Chair. Through the educational program, they hope to teach people how to grow gardens at their own homes, as well as how to cook the produce into healthy meals.

Since nearly half of Franklinton residents make less than $15,000 each year and a third don’t own a car, having healthy food in the front or backyard could be a game changer.

“We’re very excited for that,” said Langerman. “We’re excited to connect to all different types of people in the neighborhood, all kinds of demographics, to make it kind of a community space to invite people to be able to experience how fun and how joyful it is to be able to grow your own food.”

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